Minister faces flak for hailing price rise

Beni Prasad Verma says media misquoted him

Union Minister for Steel, Beni Prasad Verma, has found himself in a tight spot as his remarks welcoming the rise in price of commodities have sparked off a controversy.

At a programme in UP’s Barabanki district on Sunday, Verma said: “Prices of pulses, flour, vegetables, gas and other things have increased...it is good for the farmers as they are getting more price for their produce.” 

“Hum to khush hain ki kisano ko fayada pahunch raha hai (I am happy that the farmers are being benefitted),” Verma said,  adding that the UPA government was committed to ensuring “good price to the farmers for their produce.”

The Union minister’s remarks triggered a wave of protests from the Opposition. “Verma is trying to hide the UPA government’s failure to contain price rise...the remarks are reprehensible...it shows mental bankruptcy of the minister,” Swami Prasad Maurya of the BSP said.
“The Congress must come clean on the minister's statement...it must explain,” demanded UP BJP chief Luxmi Kant Bajpai.

Going a step further, SP leader Azam Khan said: “Sonia Gandhi should have her ministers examined at some mental hospital to ascertain if they are fit for the posts or not. Verma is known for making such irresponsible statements.” 

Verma, was a close aide of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, before defecting to the Congress. Verma had called Yadav a “back stabber” and ridiculed his aspiration of becoming the prime minister after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Verma had courted controversy in the past for his outlandish remarks. During the recently concluded UP Assembly elections, he had repeatedly used “unparliamentary” words against anti-graft activist Anna Hazare. His remarks on reservation to the backward Muslims had also invited the Election Commission’s wrath. 

Reacting to the controversy, Verma said: “I never said I was happy over price rise...I had merely said I was happy because farmers are getting good prices for their produce.”

“I was misquoted by the media,” he claimed.

BJP lashes out at UPA on price rise

BJP leaders on Monday lashed out at the UPA government for its “anti-farmer” policies and alleged that farmers in debt were being driven to commit suicide by the lop-sided policies of the Centre, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Addressing a protest rally organised by the Bharatiya Jisan Sabha, BJP president Nitin Gadkari blamed the policies of the UPA for the ills of the farming sector.
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