New Delhi, Feb 25 (Calcutta Tube) Opposition parties, barring the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), staged walkouts from the Lok Sabha Thursday to protest Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s statement that the prices of essential commodities were coming down.
The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Left parties walkeed out from the house separately when Pawar, while replying to the discussion on rising prices, remarked that ‘it is hard for you to digest that prices are coming down’.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance constituents also staged a walkout.
The MPs protested when Pawar countered the opposition’s charge by quoting various newspaper reports which said prices are under control.
Quoting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pawar said: ‘The worst time is over. I am sure the situation will change.’ He said he was hopeful that the situation faced by people on the price front would ease out.
Pawar, who faced repeated interjections from opposition MPs, notably Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said the government had taken care to raise incomes of farmers by raising the minimum support price.
He added that 62 percent of the country’s population was dependent on agriculture.
Sushma Swaraj, who came to the house with her latest grocery bill and spoke in part of her role as a homemaker, repeatedly disputed the figures given by Pawar for prices of various essential items.
She asked the minister about the reasons for the vast difference between the farm price and the retail price.
Protesting Pawar’s refusal to accept that there is food inflation in the country, the BJP-led NDA staged a walkout.
Pawar continued with his reply after the opposition had walked out.