Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, August 03, 2010

Opposition in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday mounted a scathing attack on the government on skyrocketing prices asking it to "wake up from its deep slumber" and urgently provide relief to the common people instead of being "insensitive" to them.

Initiating a debate on a motion moved by her on the issue of inflation, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the hike in prices of petroleum products, particularly kerosene and LPG, had immensely burdened the people who were already reeling under the spiralling costs of foodgrains and other essentials.

She said while the common man was suffering, the government was "sleeping" and "insensitive" towards them.

"The government should wake up from deep slumber and take urgent effective steps to provide relief to the common man suffering due to backbreaking prices," Swaraj said.

The motion, which read, "That this House do consider the inflationary pressure on the economy and its adverse impact on the common man" -- was taken up a day after government and opposition reached compromise on the issue which paralysed Parliament throughout last week.

The opposition was pushing for a discussion on price rise under a rule that entails voting but the government stoutly opposed it, leading to a stand-off last week.

During the debate which will have no voting, Swaraj said the opposition had earlier pressed for Adjournment Motion or discussion under Rule 184 which entails voting but there was "no consensus" and hence they had to move the motion on "inflationary pressure", which is actually price rise.

Addressing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, she said even the members of Congress and its allies were concerned over price rise but were keeping mum.

The BJP leader said if the "government becomes unpopular, we will benefit. But that is the language of a businessman. We are not businessmen but guardians of the interests of people."

She said the opposition was not trying to divide the House but wanted it to support the motion.

"Do not take the curse of the poor," she told the government.

Swaraj remarked that the NDA government had been hit hard by only one committee -- Kelkar Committee -- while the UPA government had been hurt by three high-level committees constituted to go into key aspects of economy, including subsidies. These committees were headed by C Rangarajan, B K Chaturvedi and Kirit Parekh.