New Delhi: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday charged the Narendra Modi government with gross failure to keep prices of essential commodities under control.
Gandhi also challenged Prime Minister Modi to announce a date by which the prices of essential commodities like dal and vegetables will decrease.
"Modiji, jitne khokhle vaade karne hai kariye... Stand Up India, Make in India. Par is house ko ek tareekh de dijiye jab market mein daam kam ho jayenge (Modiji, make as many empty promises as you want... Stand Up India, Make in India. But please announce a date in this house when the prices will come down)," Gandhi said in a brief speech in the Lok Sabha participating in the general discussion on price rise.
Directing his ire at the Prime Minister, the Congress leader recalled that Modi had made a series of promises in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and promised to bring down prices.
"You had made a good speech then. But now that you are the Prime Minister, we want to ask you one question... why the prices have not come down," Gandhi said.
Gandhi claimed that compared to 2014, prices of certain essential items have gone up by anything between 100 per cent and 300 per cent.
"There is a huge gap between the market price and the minimum support price," something not seen during the Congress-led UPA rule, Gandhi said.
Reminding the Prime Minister of his election speech in Uttar Pradesh in 2014 -- when Modi had said he wanted to be a "chowkidar (guard)" for the country and not the Prime Minister, Gandhi said the task of safe-guarding interests of poor people now should be "left to the Congress".
Gandhi lamented that today a huge quantity of pulses are being lootedunder Modi as the "guard".
"Now you are the Prime Minister... you have become a big man. Why should you be a chowkidar too? Leave that duty to us, the Congress party today," Gandhi said amid strong protests from the BJP members.
The BJP fielded Hukumdev Narayan Yadav immediately after Gandhi's speech and the lawmaker from Bihar denied the Congress leader's allegation that the Modi government has been responsible for price rise.
"Contrary to allegations made by Rahul Gandhi, the Modi government has catered most for the welfare of the poor people. Opening of bank accounts under the Jan Dhan scheme for the rural people and cheap LPG made available to poor people only shows government's commitment to the poor," Yadav said.