New Delhi: Government on Thursday came under sharp attack on the issue of price rise with the Opposition accusing it of failing to curb inflation and the BJP even asking it to quit if it fails to "find a way out" of the current situation.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj accused the government of pursuing wrong economic policies, while Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) said the seasonal reprieve from inflation should not work as a respite for the government which should aim at bringing down inflation in the long term.

Referring to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement 'I don't know where this country is going' made after a man slapped Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Swaraj said it was the duty of the government of the day to find a way out.

"...You find a way. If you cannot, leave the chair and then we will show the way," Swaraj said, winding up her speech on a discussion on inflation.

She blamed "wrong" economic policies and corruption in government behind price rise.

"CAG has exposed six scams worth crores of rupees. 60,000 tonne of foodgrain is rotting in in godowns and government has taken a loan of Rs 53,000 crore...the RBI has increased interest rates 13 times...have goodies by taking loan," she said.

At one point, Swaraj and Mukherjee had a brief exchange of words.

Swaraj asked Mukherjee to listen to what she was saying instead of reading documents.

Mukherjee shot back by saying that it was repeat of her old speeches and said he was listening to "every word" she has said while going through the notes.

At this Swaraj said the speech can be changed if the government is able to change in situation, prompting the Finance Minister to say that people know what the BJP did when it was in power. Swaraj also accused the government of "doling out" figures and statistics when the "hungry actually need food".

Referring to the Cabinet decision on allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, she said even US President Barack Obama was supporting 'US small business Saturday' where people buy things from small shops.

On the issue of blackmoney, Swaraj said if the money stashed away in bank accounts abroad is brought back, it will help curb inflation.

Dasgupta, who initiated the discussion, said government should work towards increasing agricultural produce if it wanted a long term solution to curb inflation.

"The respite from inflation is seasonal and the government should not be satisfied...the panorama of price rise has not been eliminated," he said.

Terming the government as "rudderless", Dasgupta said the issue of price rise was a "long story of failed promises of a faceless government...government led by eminent economist
Manmohan Singh has all along been on the wrong side."

Rewati Raman Singh (SP) said that despite several expert and committees recommended that the inflation should not be more than 6 percent in any case.

Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) said the government must do something to contain inflation as the poor people are desperately waiting for situation to improve.

Sharad Yadav (JD) alleged that continuous price rise shows that the government efforts (to contain inflation) are not visible. "Government is not making serious efforts to contain inflation and instead making policies which are fueling it," Yadav said.

Attacking BJP, Kalyan Banerjee (AITC) said, "You will not come in power by delivering a speech here. You need a mandate for that."

TKS Elangovan (DMK), Basudeb Acharia (CPM), B Mahtab (BJD), Anandrao Adsul (SS) and Supriya Sule (NCP) also participated in the discussion. PTI NAB KKS CS Meenakshi Natarajan (Cong) said the recession in Europe had affected India as well but struck a positive note, saying this was not the first time that inflation had gone into double digit in the country.

She maintained that from 1972-74 and again from 1978-81 inflation figures had gone above 20 per cent.

Natarajan said nobody from the government had said just as consumption had gone up, it meant people were eating more. She expressed concern at the poor having to spend up to 60 percent of their income on food.

She suggested that India could learn from Brazil and Turkey which had dealt with high inflation effectively by increasing repo rates but not interest rates.

Hukumdeo Narain Yadav (BJP) said the common man did not understand terms like repo rate and measured inflation only by the high prices he had to pay for essential commodities.
  
He took dig at the Congress, saying people on Thursday look at Sonia Gandhi to give them bread just as they once did from Indira Gandhi when she was in power.

"Everybody knows that this government is not that of Manmohan Singh but yours. Your writ runs over it," Yadav said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi was present in the House that time.

He named some big family owned business houses and asked how they had acquired such huge wealth in a short time and alleged they had looted the share of the common people.

Yadav demanded that the government should give Rs 400 per month to the poor as inflation dole. Yadav alleged that today's Congress is the biggest critic of Indira Gandhi, who had never supported FDI or the big industrial houses.

He maintained that consumption has increased while production has gone down.

"The government should establish a Prices Commission to control prices.... We will support the government all the way if it takes concrete measures to control prices," Yadav said.

Putul Kumari (Ind) said though price rise has been debated several times in Parliament, the issue had not been resolved.

She claimed that farmers from her state of Bihar do not commit suicide but migrate to cities to get employment.

Kameshwar Baitha (JMM) said due to poverty some people were forced to sell their children.

He suggested that government should impose limits on selling and buying prices of commodities to control prices.

Ratna De Nag (AITC) said the PDS should be monitored and anomalies in it should be done away with.

Narahari Mahato (AIFB) demanded more sops for farmers including decrease in prices of fertilisers.

(Agencies)