Rising prices make Congress' 'Jai Ho' hollow: Brinda Karat
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The ruling Congress's 'Jai Ho' slogan sounds hollow as food prices have risen sharply as compared to the last year, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Brinda Karat said Monday.
Accusing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of failing to check the prices of food and other essential commodities, Brinda Karat said: 'At the retail level in Delhi between March 2008 and March 2009 sugar went up by 47 percent, toor dal by 31 percent and onions by a whopping 111 percent.'
'All this makes the slogan of 'Jai Ho' sound hollow,' she said while releasing campaign pamphlets of the party here.
The CPI-M has identified certain issues for campaign for the 15th Lok Sabha and these issues will be brought to the people in the form of a series of campaign pamphlets, she said.
'One of the most striking failures of the Congress-led government has been the inability to check the persistent rise in prices of food and other essential commodities and ensure food security for our people.
'Shamefully, the UPA government is now claiming great success in controlling inflation, at a time when the entire global economy is spiralling rapidly into recession,' she told reporters.
The CPI-M leader said endemic hunger continues to afflict a large proportion of the Indian population.
'Latest (National Sample Survey) NSS data shows that 76 percent of the total population (in India) has inadequate calorie and food consumption. More than half of India's women and three-quarters of children are anaemic. One in every three adult Indian has chronic energy deficiency,' said Brinda Karat, the only woman leader in the CPI-M's highest decision-making body.
She said the obvious strategy to tackle hunger and malnutrition was to universalise and strengthen the public distribution system, expand the Antodaya Anna Yojana, act firmly against hoarders and black-marketers and ban futures trading in essential items and food.
'But the UPA government did the exact opposite through its ill-conceived neo-liberal food policy, which favoured agribusiness and private traders, belying its promises to the 'aam aadmi',' she said.
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