Communist Party of India (CPI) leader A.B. Bardhan said here over the weekend that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi had discovered corruption and inflation, a fact the people already knew for long.

“Some have discovered inflation and corruption today. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have said there is corruption in MNREGS. We have always said there was massive corruption in the implementation of the scheme. The Press too has carried it after they said it,” Mr. Bardhan said here at a Left parties’ convention ahead of the nationwide trade union strike on February 20 and 21. He called for a “Bihar bandh” on these two days to oppose the United Progressive Alliance’s policies on a host of issues, more prominently foreign direct investment in retail and the recent hike in diesel prices.

“No meaning in budget”

“The Budget has no meaning these days. Even before it is announced, railway fares and diesel prices have been hiked. The gradual increase of 50 paise per month means by the time of 2014 polls, the price will have been hiked by Rs. 8 without the people realising it. These are the government’s tactics to fool people. Once the diesel costs go up, bus fare will follow suit. Farmers will find it difficult to use diesel-powered pump sets. Prices of essential commodities, mainly food items, have risen,” he said.

Mr. Bardhan said the CPI did not agree with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s position on foreign direct investment. “They are together with the Congress on this.” The media too was “spreading the lie” that FDI would increase employment and benefit farmers. He criticised the Bihar government for remaining silent on police atrocities. “The Nitish Kumar government is running on the support of the bureaucracy and the police. There is police raj.”

On the D. Bandyopadhyay Committee recommendations, he said: “Nitish Kumar said they can’t be implemented. Then why did he set up the committee? The intention was merely to fool people.”

Mr. Bardhan said the whole country was opposing inflation, FDI in retail and demanding pension and land reforms. He urged shopkeepers to shut shop to oppose FDI.