New Delhi: Amid rising prices of food grains,
voices are emerging in the central government that portfolios
of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, held by Sharad Pawar,
should be segregated as there could be a conflict of interest
between the two.
Hints in this regard were dropped by a union minister
today while contending that there is a "conflict of interest
between producers and consumers" while referring to the dual
portfolios held by Pawar.
The questioning of Pawar holding the portfolios of
Agriculture as well as Consumer Affairs, Food and Public
Distribution came amid rising prices of food items, for which
the Agriculture Minister has become the focal point of attack.
Pawar, leader of key UPA constituent NCP, had come under
sharp criticism at the meeting of Congress Working Committee
(CWC) yesterday on the issue of price rise.
Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and senior leaders R K
Dhawan and Satyabrata Chaturvedi did not take Pawar`s name but
gave a clear message that the handling of agriculture and
concerned ministries held by him was not upto the mark.
Chaturvedi had sometime back demanded that Pawar be
divested of ministries concerning Consumer Affairs as its
interest ran counter to that of the Agriculture Ministry.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is reported to have told
his Congress colleagues that he has taken note of their
suggestions made at the meeting.