The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) bid to reach out to other parties for forming a “secular” democratic front has found no favour with JD (U), which termed it as a “bargaining” tactic vis-a-vis Congress.
“They (NCP) are not serious... They are very much in UPA.
On the one hand they are enjoying the fruits of power and on the other hand, they talk alignment with other parties,” JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav told PTI in an interview.
Mr. Yadav said NCP’s announcement of forming alliances with non-Congress parties was Mr. Pawar’s “bargaining” tactic vis-a-vis Congress.
He was replying to a query whether JD(U) would be interested in responding to NCP’s decision to forge alliances outside UPA as Congress was not giving it “space“.
Targetting Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over the food price increase and criticising him for favouring decontrol of sugar, Mr. Yadav, also the NDA convener who played a key role in organising the recent ‘Bharat Bandh’ against price rise, said the NCP leader could not “escape the responsibility for the inflation“.
“The price rise is due to UPA government’s policies and the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs (portfolios held by Pawar) is maximum in it,” the JD(U) leader said.
He reacted sharply to Mr. Pawar’s statement that he favours ending government’s role in fixing sales quota on sugar industry.
At present, the government controls the sugar industry right from fixing the support price of sugarcane to allocating the monthly quota for mills to sale in the open market.
“After decontrolling prices of petrol, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said diesel prices will also be decontrolled.
Now Pawar is saying the same about sugar. It seems the UPA government has decided to leave common man at mercy of market,” Mr. Yadav said.
He also took a dig at Mr. Pawar for requesting the Prime Minister to reduce his workload, saying, “His burden can be lessened by making him a minister without portfolio.”
“He (Pawar) should be left free to devote full time to cricket. After all he is attached to the game so deeply,” Mr. Yadav quipped.
He underlined that the portfolios being held by Mr. Pawar are very important and time-consuming that a person handling those ministries cannot have leisure to relax.
“Pawar remained busy with cricket and BCCI. That is also a reason for such rise in food prices,” Yadav said.