It is the Centre which is primarily responsible for the skyrocketing prices and hence the onus of controlling them is on it and not on the States, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said on Monday.

Mr. Karat was reacting to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s caution that the States take price rise seriously. He said Mr. Pawar was seeking to pass on the responsibility to the States, whose role was limited to de-hoarding.

Addressing a press conference here, the CPI (M) leader attributed price rise to the Centre’s “wrong policies” of allowing forward trading in essential commodities, and failure to revamp the prices of petroleum products, strengthen the public distribution system and crack down on hoarders and black marketeers.Opposing the United Progressive Alliance regime’s move to disinvest government shares in profit-making public sector units and use the proceeds to meet fiscal deficit, Mr. Karat said his party would build up a strong movement and back trade unions in resisting it.

To a question on the Gorkhaland demand, he said no political party wanted West Bengal divided. More autonomy should be given to all autonomous councils by increasing the scope of Schedule VI and by making Constitution amendments. But, he said, the UPA government was scared of even the word autonomy.

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