Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has assailed the fuel price hike announced in Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s budget speech on Friday. She said the unwarranted increase would hit the common man.
Ms. Mayawati said the increase in diesel prices, in particular, would trigger a hike in the prices of food grains, directly impacting the poor and the deprived sections. While the Central government has tried to win some points by giving income tax relief, its decision on fuel prices would nullify the relief as consumers will have to pay more for their daily bread.
Describing the budget as anti-poor, the Chief Minister said in a statement on Saturday, it would increase the inflationary pressure on the economy. Taking a dig at Mr. Mukerjee, Ms. Mayawati stated that on the eve of the budget, the Finance Minister had admitted that the increase in the prices of essentials was a matter of concern, but how the prices could be controlled was not mentioned in his budget speech.
Hitting out against the United Progressive Alliance government, she said unfortunately as per the principles laid down by the Centre, the country comprised “two Indias” — one of the rich, well-versed with economics, and the second made up of millions of common men and women for whom earning two square meals a day is an uphill task.
The “calorie conscious” UPA government is unable to understand the problems faced by the two-third starving population of the country, Ms. Mayawati said.
She dismissed the Finance Minister’s claim that this was a budget for the common man, the farmers and the entrepreneurs. On the contrary, it was capitalist-oriented, she added.
Ms. Mayawati lashed out at the Congress and said the party was wholly with the capitalists and not the common man.
Stating that the budget had virtually ignored the social sector, the rural and urban poor, the Chief Minister accused the Centre of misleading the people by fudging figures. No new schemes have been proposed for the Dalits and women. Ms. Mayawati added that the budget was also silent on the steps to remove unemployment and create jobs for the jobless.