New Delhi: Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP on Tuesday said the "inability" to control inflation was the "biggest failure" of the "economist Prime Minister" while Congress put the onus on states to check spiralling food prices.
The BJP also accused the government of not taking proactive steps to check rising prices and questioned Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s ability in this regard.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said "under the leadership of an economist Prime Minister" prices have been skyrocketing.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley also echoed Prasad`s sentiments and said the UPA Government had little idea on how to deal with inflation.
"Prices of onions and tomatoes are not coming down, interest rates have been increased six times which is having a bad effect on the stock market.... We have a Prime Minister who is also an economist. But in the last three years he did not have any solution to deal with it. It is his biggest failure," he said at the Delhi BJP headquarters.
Prasad sought to know why the government did not import onions despite knowing that the crop had been destroyed in the country due to rains.
"Whenever a question on price rise is put to Pranab Mukherjee, I see irritation writ large on his face," Prasad said and questioned Finance Minister`s ability to control price rise.
Congress on its part said a high-level meeting convened by Prime Minister Singh on inflation shows the UPA government`s "sensitivity" towards the issue, but put the onus on the states to check the menace.
"The real challenge is how do you reduce the gap between the farm gate prices and the prices which consumers pay, and to a large extent the responsibility also vests with the state governments...because the power to act to take action against profiteers, hoarders and those who speculate are with state governments," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
Tewari at the same time maintained that "the Prime Minister personally convened a meeting of the senior most ministers of the UPA government to take cognizance of the situation itself, (which) shows the sensitivity of the UPA government".
Expressing hope that the state governments would exercise their powers effectively to contain the menace, Tewari clarified that he was not differentiating on this count between Congress or non-Congress governments.
"I am talking about state governments as entities," he said, adding that the states should act on the lines of the Centre, which used its investigative agencies to check hoarding and profiteering in different parts of the country and carried out widespread raids last week.