Meeting of the National Executive Ranchi - November 24-26, 2004
Resolution on Price Rise
The Bharatiya Janata Party expresses grave concern at the heavy burden on the kisans, the workers, the poor, the middle-class, the salaried, government employees, and the fixed income groups due to a steep rise in the prices of essential commodities ever since the Congress-led UPA government came into being six months ago.
When the NDA was in power, prices of essential commodities were kept firmly under control. Inflation remained between 3.5% to 4%, still the NDA could maintain high GDP growth rate. However, within only six months of the UPA government, inflation has nearly doubled. The prices of atta, sugar, medicines, textbooks, milk, vegetables and edible oil have steeply increased. Cement, coal, and textile too have become more expensive. The cost of electricity and water has gone up.
There has been a cascading effect on the general price line due to the recent hefty increases in the prices of petroleum products. The hike in diesel and petrol prices has made transportation for both man and goods dearer. The hike in diesel is directly hitting farmers in making their lives from bad to worse. The increase in the price of the LPG gas cylinder has been affecting the living standards of the lower and middle-income groups. This is directly affecting millions of Indian housewives, who have to cut down on other essential needs to make good for the increased cost of the LPG gas cylinder.
Due to sustained efforts of the NDA government, not only did more Indian families get cooking gas, but the long waiting lists for a simple gas connection were also done away with. Each family on an average uses two gas cylinders in a month, and now has to pay Rs. 80/- more. The UPA government first proposed a continuous monthly increment of Rs. 5 in the cost of the domestic LPG cylinder, creating speculation and confusion in the minds of the Indian people. But due to immense opposition and public pressure this flawed decision has been withdrawn. This proposal would have eventually hit the average family with an additional expenditure of Rs. 170 per month. Truly, the Congress party's slogan, "Congress ka haath, aam aadmi ke saath" has transformed into a vicious "vishwas-ghaath" with the "aam aadmi".
Due to increased prices the cost of steel, cement, coal and iron used in the construction industry has gone up, making construction more expensive than before. The six years of the NDA rule had witnessed a steady lowering of interest rates. Lately, however, increased rate of interest on home loans is making owning a house more expensive then before. Due to the increasing rate of interest on bank loans, construction activity is slowing down. The lull in this activity is, in turn, resulting in less employment opportunities. The hike in Railway freight charges for cement, steel, coal etc. announced yesterday is the last straw on the camel's back.
On the issue of price rise, the National Executive of the BJP resolves to expose the hypocritical stand of the communists, who are a part of the ruling UPA alliance. They have obviously given a green signal to this important decision of the UPA government during their closed-door consultations with the Congress party's leadership. However, they are now trying to fool the people, by portraying as if they are opposed to this patently anti-people measure of the UPA government. The communist double-speak can be described as "Andar dikhayi hari jhandi, bahar dikhate hain lal jhanda". Hence, the communist parties, RJD and the other partners of the UPA are as much responsible as the Congress party for the inflation and the price rise.
We express concern at the apathy of the UPA government towards the efficient implementation off the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, the largest food security programme launched by the Vajpayee government for the benefit of the poor. Under this scheme, as many as 1.50 crore poorest of the poor families were entitled to get 35 kgs of foodgrains each month at highly subsidized rates of Rs. 2 per kg for wheat and Rs. 3 per kg for rice. The BJP demands efficient implementation of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, since the poor need this more now than before. The BJP also demands that the inadequacies in the working of the PDS system be removed.
The BJP National Executive demands that the government take immediate and effective steps to rein in inflation, and to check and reverse the rise in prices of all essential goods without letting the GDP growth rate degrade. The BJP has decided to hold a massive public demonstration against price rise in New Delhi on December 1st 2004. We appeal to the people to join the protest action in large numbers. The Party also resolves to raise the issue of price rise powerfully in Parliament during its forthcoming winter session.