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Aug 20, 2012, 06.26 PM IST
The one thing that the UPA could do without presently is yet another new scam, controversy or scandal. However, its ministers are unwilling to let it even breathe.
On Sunday, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma made the controversial remark that the ruling coalition supported high inflation as it was good for the farmers.
"We are happy with the inflation, it will help farmers... Dal, grain and vegetables are more expensive. The rising prices is a benefit. We are happy."
At a time when the country is reeling under rising prices, the last thing the common man needs is for a minister to rub it in.
Yet, the Congress leaders are at it.
It remains to be seen what is party President Sonia Gandhi's take on the issue.
Opposition smells opportunity
The Opposition did not waste a minute in using the opportunity to score political points.
BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "There can be no worse statement than this. The price of farming has gone up and inflation is not helping the farmer. The Congress is far removed from the common man."
BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria said, "To support this idea that inflation and price hike is good is really unacceptable. I think the minister should have refrained today and otherwise too from commenting like this."
He added, "This will not go down well with the people of the country. Inflation may not affect the rich, but definitely affects the poor."
It's ridiculous: CPI(M)
D Raja, of the CPI(M), said, "It is very laughable. On one side, the PM expresses concern at inflation, and on the other, one of his colleague thinks high inflation is a happy thing. How will it benefit farmers please explain. The government is not spending on agriculture. Public investments must be announced... but the government is not doing anything. Farmers are not getting what they deserve. All input prices have gone up. The government has also reduced subsidy on fertilisers. It is mockery of farming community in India. It is so non-remunerating, that farmers are committing suicide. It is a ridiculous comment."
Congress on backfoot
The Congress on Monday seemed to be at a loss of words to explain the controversial statement by Beni Prasad.
Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, "If farmers get more price, it is natural that prices will rise in market, but there should be a balance on which the Planning Commission is working. The Finance Minister is taking measures to control the price rise."
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