Cong blames states for onion prices

Fearing political backlash over soaring onion prices ahead of the Assembly elections, the Congress on Tuesday sought to shift the blame on state governments. The states did not take action to curb hoarding of onion, it charged.

The party also sought to drag the BJP into the controversy, wondering if the spurt in onion prices was a result of “some conspiracy by a political party which supports middlemen.”

“There is a need to check hoarding in various states. All state governments were asked to take action to curb such malpractice,” Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal told reporters. Onion prices came down when the government threatened to conduct raids last month, he added. 

The rise in onion prices during festival season has become a serious concern for the United Progressive Alliance government, which is already facing criticism for failing to contain inflation. The recent spurt has left party leaders worried. It comes at a time when campaign for the Assembly elections in four states and the National Capital Region is gaining momentum.

Starting with Chhattisgarh next month, the Congress has to face the electorate over the next two months in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram. Many senior Congress leaders admitted that if the onion prices were not controlled, it may impact the party’s poll prospects. 

The rise in onion prices cost the BJP dear in 1998, when the party was defeated in the Delhi Assembly polls. The Congress has been ruling the NCR since then. 

BJP, Congress spar over bulb prices

The BJP slammed the Delhi government for the rise in prices of onion and other vegetables, reports DHNS from New Delhi. 

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said while prices have gone up across the country, her government has “intervened from time to time to provide relief to people against the exceptional hike in the prices of essential commodities”.

Dikshit said, “Unprecedented rain in a number of onion producing states has resulted in its shortage.” 

Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, V K Malhotra said, “The government was fully aware of the impending increase in the prices of onion, but it did not take any preventive steps and let the situation go out of hand.” 
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