After reservation, Dadri lynching and cow-slaughter, the rising pulse prices have now become a poll issue in Bihar, as leaders tried to pin the blame on their rivals. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the Nitish Kumar government did not utilise the special Central fund for price stabilisation. “The Central government wrote to several State governments, including Bihar, to take advantage of the Price Stabilising Fund. But the Nitish government ignored it for political reasons,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi and West Bengal used the fund and pulses were selling at Rs. 120 to Rs. 130 a kg in retail outlets in these States. The Price Stabilisation Fund is raised by the State to which the Centre contributes 50 per cent.
Earlier, grand alliance leaders Lalu Prasad and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had raised the issue at their poll meetings and blamed the Central government.
Mr. Kumar borrowed a statement Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made, to take a jibe at him for the spiralling prices of pulses: “ Na khaunga, na khane dunga (won’t eat, won’t let others eat).
His alliance partner RJD chief Lalu Prasad did not spare the Centre either. “Pulses have vanished from the plate of the poor, but prices of petrol and diesel have come down... can people eat and drink petrol instead?”