The Congress party launched a scathing attack on the Centre, accusing it of failing to address the skyrocketing prices of vegetables and essential food items. The party dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the 'Mehengaai Man' (Price-Hike Man) and demanded urgent steps from the government to tackle the issue.
Protest by Women's Wing Outside BJP Office in Delhi
The women's wing of the Congress party organized a protest outside the BJP office in Delhi, demanding relief for the public from the escalating inflation of essential food items. The protesters called for immediate measures to alleviate the burden of rising prices.
During a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate drew attention to the surging prices of vegetables and other food items. As a symbolic gesture, the party displayed a basket containing tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and green chilies, collectively worth over ₹1,070 due to inflation. Shrinate criticized the government's inaction and referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the "Mehengaai Man."
"Does the government care? Does the man who has brought the onslaught of rising prices care? Is the government taking any steps to reverse the situation, is the government doing anything possible within its rights to bring people relief? I think the answer to all of that is a big 'no'," she said.
Shrinate emphasized that unemployment in the country had reached a two-year high and accused the government of neglecting this issue. She asserted that the government had turned a blind eye to the challenges faced by the citizens.
Vegetable Prices Reach Alarming Heights
Shrinate pointed out the exorbitant prices of essential vegetables, citing examples such as tomatoes priced at ₹160, coriander at ₹200, ginger at ₹400, and chili at ₹400.
"The reality is that the prices of spices have gone up. Zeera has gone up to ₹ 800 per kg, and pulses as common as tur or arhar daal are costing anywhere between ₹ 160 to ₹ 170. Prices of rice and wheat have gone up. What about the common man, what about the middle class," she asked.
Dismissing the argument that the government could do nothing due to the seasonality of certain items, Shrinate cited instances of Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and other states successfully providing relief to the public during similar circumstances. She asserted that effective measures could indeed be taken by the government.
Government Accused of Profiteering
Shrinate alleged that the government was profiteering from the situation, as crude oil prices remained stable at around $65 per barrel, yet the benefits were not being passed on to the people. She called upon the government to take immediate action to alleviate the burden on the public.
Rationalization of Fuel Prices and Fiscal Assistance
The Congress leader appealed to the government to take immediate steps to provide relief to the people. She urged the government to rationalize fuel prices and reduce taxes to bring down diesel prices, which in turn would contribute to lower vegetable prices. Shrinate further emphasized the need for fiscal assistance to support individuals adversely affected by the rising costs.
Shrinate highlighted the increase in prices of everyday consumer goods, such as biscuits, tea leaves, and chocolate. She pointed out that although the packaging of these products often remained the same, the quantity provided had decreased, resulting in hidden price hikes.
Demand For Immediate Action
"We ask the government to take immediate steps so that some relief can be brought to the people of this country. We expect the government to rationalise fuel prices. We expect the government to reduce prices so that diesel prices come down so that prices of vegetables can come down," she said.
"We expect the government to stop profiteering through taxes...and people who are really reeling under price rise be given some fiscal help," Ms Shrinate added.