Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday put the blame for price rise on the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and demanded his removal from the post. She threatened to boycott the meeting of Chief Ministers, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on January 27 for discussing price rise if Mr. Pawar is not removed from the Cabinet by then.
“It would be in the interest of the poor and downtrodden people that Mr. Pawar is removed as Minister,” Ms. Mayawati said. She also assailed Mr. Pawar for having said that the milk prices might go up.
If no action was taken against Mr. Pawar by Dr. Singh, it would prove that the Minister had the Prime Minister’s backing in respect to giving “irresponsible statements,” Ms. Mayawati told reporters at a press conference here.
Referring to Mr. Pawar’s reported statement on Wednesday on the impending milk crisis in north India and the subsequent rise in the prices of the commodity after that of sugar and rice, the Chief Minister said this was not the first time the Minister had given such irresponsible statement. Hoarders and black marketers would be emboldened by Mr. Pawar’s observation, Ms. Mayawati felt.
Ms. Mayawati alleged that the United Progressive Alliance government was responsible for the increase in prices of food grains and essential commodities. Stern directives were given to the officials in the State to take strict action against hoarders.
The sub-divisional magistrates in all the 71 districts of the State were directed to conduct weekly surprise inspection of markets for keeping a check on prices.
Dig at Maharashtra
Ms. Mayawati criticised the Maharashtra government’s decision of making the knowledge of Marathi language and 15-year residence mandatory for giving permit for new taxis. The decision was politically motivated and the Bahujan Samaj Party was opposed to the move.