Pawar comes in for sharp criticism at CWC meet

NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had to take much flak for failing to reign in cost of essential items at the Congress Working Committee held in New Delhi yesterday.

Pawar was the target of some sharp criticism for the spiraling costs of essential items such as pulses, oils, vegetables, sugar and milk which have left the centre vulnerable to attack from the opposition.

The Congress, which publicly criticised Pawar's inept handling of the agriculture ministry, hit out at its ally saying, ''work should be done a little more seriously...there should not be unnecessary warnings (about the scarcity of things)," a CWC leader said recalling the statements on price of sugar and milk made by Pawar.

Though sources say Pawar was not directly named there was indirect criticism about his statement on the shortage of milk supplies.

According to a CWC member if Pawar himself was speaking of a scarcity, then hoarding was sure to take place. According to Congress sources, Sayavrat Chaturvedi who had earlier targeted Pawar on sugarcane prices was one of the leaders to have talked about Pawar's failings.
Another leader speaking at the meeting accused Pawar of having talked up prices.

The price rise issue dominated CWC proceedings were also attended by all chief ministers of the party. Congress president Sonia Gandhi opened the meeting by "expressing serious concern" over the issue. She raised issues including the political situation in Telangana, organisational polls, the Congress party's 125 year celebrations, organisational polls and suggestions for the budget.

The bid by NCP chief to deflect criticism by calling price rise ''a collective decision'' and thereby shift the blame on the prime minister also came in for a sharp attack with leaders calling it unprecedented and unhealthy in a democracy.