Marcus Dam

MALDA: “It is easy to criticise the Centre, but it is imperative that the State governments fulfil their responsibilities,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Monday.

She was addressing a rally at Sujapur near here as part of the Congress campaign in next month’s panchayat elections in West Bengal.

On price rice, she said the prices of petrol, rice and wheat had gone up in the international market. Despite this, the Centre ensured that there was no increase in kerosene price. “It is for the State government to come down on black marketing and hoarding of essential commodities. This is its responsibility.”

The States must ensure timely availability of foodgrains under the public distribution system.

“The Centre is providing full financial support to West Bengal to implement various central development schemes.” If the funds “are utilised without discrimination,” the life of people would improve.

Taking a dig at the Left Front government, Ms. Gandhi said it should “introspect why after 30 years [of the Left being] in power the State is lagging behind when it comes to improving the condition of the minorities.” The Sachar Committee presented the true picture of Muslims and their lot “is not the handiwork of any political party.” Ms. Gandhi was on a tour of Behrampore and Malda, both considered Congress citadels. She paid tributes to the memory of A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, a patriarchal figure in local Congress circles, and visited his grave and residence at Kotwali in Malda district.

More In: Today's Paper