Cong backs Pawar on price row

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 27 2010, 03:33am hrs
Congress on Monday downplayed the statement of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar that he alone was not involved in the price policy, saying the NCP leader was simply stating the constitutional position.

He (Pawar) was simply stating the Constitutional position. Checking price rise is the collective responsibility of the central government, different ministries and the state governments, party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

He said the agriculture minister was not blaming anyone and all concerned have to work to collectively check price rise.

On a volley of questions whether Pawar was blaming the Prime Minister, Ahmed said he was not blaming anyone but reflecting the constitutional position.

Congress also wants that collectively, the central government and state governments work to bring prices under control, he added.

Yesterday in Pune, Pawar had said he was not the only person involved in this process... The Prime Minister and all of us together decide the price policy. The statement had kicked up a controversy and later Pawar clarified his remark. Ahmed said that the media projection that Pawar was attacking someone was not correct. The statement should not be twisted out of context, he added.

Ahmed said checking hoarding and black marketing was the responsibility of the state government and it was a reality that there was 23% less rainfall this year and production of foodgrains was down.

To a query what steps had Congress-ruled Delhi and Maharashtra governments taken to check hoarding and black marketing, the spokesman said whether a state is ruled by the Congress or the BJP, it was their responsibility to crack down on such malpractices.

Every state government should act against hoarding, whether it is Congress or BJP ruled, he said adding the Centre too has a mechanism to control prices and was doing it.

Asked whether Pawar should avoid such controversial statements, Ahmed merely said it was twisted by the media.