Price Rise is one of the biggest problems faced by our country: Rahul Gandhi
Excerpts from the speech of Shri Rahul Gandhi on Price-Rise I want to remind the Prime Minister of his promise: a promise, which he had made to every citizen of this country; a promise, about which the PM doesn’t utter a single word now; a promise, which seems to have long been forgotten by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Amid beautiful mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Narendra Modiji addressed a public-meeting. I reproduce a part from that address:
“Price-rise is one of the biggest problems before our country. Poor people don’t lit a stove in the night for cooking. Mother and her children used to weep throughout the night and go to sleep among tears.” (Maa-bachche raat-raat rote hain, aansu peekar sote hain).
After sometime, Modiji declared in that speech, “When the BJP will form the government in 2014; prices of essential items will be brought down. I assure you that we can stop price-rise.” What a statement! What a promise! What a dialogue that mother and her children used to weep throughout the night and go to sleep with tears! Mr. Deputy Speaker, two months ago, Happy Birthday-Party of the NDA government was celebrated. The birthday was for two years. They celebrated it with great pomp and show.
Bollywood stars came from Mumbai. The whole country viewed this programme LIVE. The title of the programme Mother and her children used to weep throughout the night and go to sleep among tears.”
Throughout the entire celebration, you didn’t utter a single word on price-rise. You didn’t mention the high prices of pulses, potatoes and tomatoes. But this issue is the biggest one before our people. The truth is you can’t make false promises on price-rise. You can speak about “Start-up India” or “Make in India” but you can’t say the same about pricerise.
Perhaps you don’t go to market but people usually go to market. Someone else would have gone for you. People simply go to market and ask, “What is the rate of pulses?” The shopkeeper answers, “Rs 200 a kg. Will you buy even a little?” People reply, “No, Please give us onions. We will go back.” Don’t worry. I will mention all the rates. You asked for rates, I’ll provide it. In May 2014, tomatoes were selling at Rs 18 a kg and now in July 2016, it is at Rs 55 a kg. A 300% rise
in price. In May 2014, potatoes were at Rs 23 a kg and today it is Rs 28 a kg. Gram pulse was selling at Rs 50 a kg and it now sells at Rs 110 a kg. An increase of 111%. I am coming to the point which I want to make. Urad pulse was selling at Rs 70 a kg and today it is at Rs 160 a kg. An increase of 120%. Lastly, tuar pulse. It was selling at Rs 230 a kg few months ago. It was at Rs 75 a kg and now at Rs 180 a kg.
I don’t want to talk only about prices. I want to make a point regarding the stealing and misappropriation of money in the name of pulses. The UPA government provided Rs 45 to farmers as MSP for pulses. When farmers go to market
to buy pulses, they have to pay Rs 75 a kg. Take the example of tuar pulse. The difference between the MSP and the market-price was Rs 30. Pulses provide protein to the whole country. Farmers work every day for it. His whole family is engaged in it. Sometimes it rains and at times there is no rain. Farmers read newspaper in the morning that a fellow farmer committed suicide. Farmers struggle and fight.
During the NDA rule, you increased the MSP a little which is at Rs 50 at present. Today farmers buy pulses at Rs 180 a kg whereas they sell it at Rs 50. When he goes to market to buy pulses, he buys it for Rs 180 a kg. During the UPA regime, the difference between market-rate and MSP was Rs 30. Today in your government’s regime, the difference between market-rate and MSP is Rs 130.
Modiji, please tell us. Where this Rs 100 is going? Who are the beneficiaries? You delivered a speech in UP in which you requested people not to make you the PM instead make me a watchman (chowkidaar). You said that you want to become a watchman of the country. The watchman presented the land-ordinance three times and tried to snatch away land. Now pulses are being stolen and you didn’t say anything. The watchman is silent. Leave it, now you have become the Prime Minister, So why to watchman’s job? Now you have become a big name. Leave the watchman’s job for us; for workers of the Congress Party.
Let us leave this watchman’s job. Now I raise another issue. During the rule of the UPA, Indian economy faced great upheavals. I am talking about 2008. At that time, oil-price was $110 per barrel. During that economic turmoil, the Congress Party and Manmohan Singhji waived off loans of farmers amounting Rs 70,000 crores. Farmers are given a great relief. What has happened now? Come to 2016. The NDA is in power. Earlier petrol-price was at $110 per barrel but at present it is at $44 per barrel. Your government has admitted that Rs 2 lakh crore is saved every year. Last year, you waived off loans of big industrialists to the tune of 52,000 crores. You will write off even bigger loans of industrialists in near future. We are not against it. We are only asking some questions in this regard. You didn’t provide a job to a single youth in “Make in India.” Not a single person got employment. My question is You gave money to big industrialists. How much amount you gave to farmers out of this Rs 2 lakh crore? How much relief you provided out of this Rs 2 lakh crore to our mothers and housewives who go to market to buy pulses at Rs 200 a kg? You didn’t give a single rupee to them. Help the big industrialists, must write off their loans. It is the need of the hour since the economy is witnessing slowdown and there is no sign of its revival. You do all this but don’t forget farmers, labourers and poor women.
I want to say only one thing to Modiji. Please make whatever promises you want to. You do all “Swachch Bharat”, “Make in India”, “Connect India”, “Start-up India”, “Stand-up India”. Make as many hollow promises as you want. Address as many press-conferences as you can. But you do one more thing. Please announce a date, when the prices of essential commodities will come down, to the house. When will pulses, potatoes and tomatoes sell at cheaper rates? Please tell the date.
Lastly, a new slogan is doing rounds in villages and small towns. Children in small towns are singing, “Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi” Thanking you all.