The Congress and NCP are again at loggerheads,this time over the steep rise in onion prices. While the Congress members are mounting pressure on the state government to intervene,NCP leaders say that the matter does not come under Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawars purview.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has urged Minister for Cooperation Harshvardhan Patil and Minister for Agriculture Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil to find out what has led to the price hike.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre had written to the CM two day ago,urging the state government to contain the rising onion prices. He urged the government to crack down on agents who were hoarding onions.
Meanwhile,NCP state president Bhaskar Jadhav said,Pawar,who holds the portfolio of Union agriculture ministry,is chiefly concerned with the welfare of farmers and crop production. He no longer holds the charge of food and civil supplies,so how is he concerned with distribution and price mechanism?
Pawar himself has urged the party not to overreact. He has said that there is nothing wrong if people cut down on onion consumption. However,his remark in lighter vein has not gone down well with the Congress leaders,who feel that this could go against the government.
A senior Congress minister here said,Market manipulation to serve ones political interest is not a new phenomenon but it goes against the people and affects the government.
Sources in the ministry of agriculture said,At the most,the shortfall cannot be more than 20 to 25 per cent in the market. Problem in transport due to heavy rain may have compounded the issue. However,this situation should not last for more than 15 days.