Barabanki: Union minister Beni Prasad Verma kicked up a controversy with remarks that he was "happy" over rising prices of food items as it will benefit farmers, evoking sharp criticism today from opposition parties and UPA supporter Samajwadi Party.
Samajwadi Party went to the extent of threatening to withdraw support to the UPA government if Verma was was not removed as minister.
"Dal, atta, rice and vegetables have become expensive. The more the prices, the better it is for farmers. I am happy with this inflation," Verma, the Union Steel Minister, told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Barabanki on Sunday.
He said the media was making a hue and cry of increasing prices. "Media kehti hai ki khane ki thali mehngi ho gayi hai...Isse fayada kisano ka hai, aur sarkar kisano ke fayda ki pachdhar hai" (Media says that cost of food plate has increased but it is benefiting farmers...and the government is in favour of farmers profit)," he said.
Besides SP, BJP and JD(U) attacked Verma, accusing the Congress and the Government of being oblivious to ground realities and ignoring the plight of the common man.
Under attack, Verma today defended his remarks, saying he had spoken about the need for farmers to get remunerative prices for their products.
"Humne kaha tha ki jab kisano ke utpad ke daam badhte hain to hume khushi hoti hai...jo kal kaha tha aaj bhi wohi keh rehein hain (I said I feel happy when prices of products of farmers increase.I am saying what I had said yesterday," Beni told reporters in Barabanki.
"Rise in prices of potato, tomato and other vegetables is always highlighted. But this doesn't happen when prices of cement, steel and cloth goes up. Fees of public schools as also medical and eningeering courses have gone up manifold, making it extremely difficult for children of farmers to pursue it," he said.
Describing his Sunday's remarks as "highly irresponsible", SP leader Mohan Singh said, "If this minister is not removed from the Government, we will have to reconsider our support to the UPA government."(MORE)