Patna, Jan 17 (Agencies): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday criticised the UPA government for escalating prices during its rule and said price rise had become synonymous with Congress over the years.

"Congress and price rise predictably go hand in hand. Whenever the party comes to power, it automatically leads to price rise," he told reporters when asked to comment on the latest petroleum price hike.

"We are not surprised at the escalating price rise and inflation during the UPA rule....let us not expect prices to fall so long as the Congress-led coalition government is ruling the country," he said.

The Congress has neither will power nor a policy to deal sternly with the price rise issue, Kumar said and described meetings of the central ministers on the issue as a "public relation exercise".

He said the NDA government in the state has been trying its best to rein in prices through deterrent measures against hoarders and black marketeers.

The Chief Minister said frequent increase in petroleum prices was an attack on the federal structure of the country.

The state governments found themselves helpless in containing price rise on their own due to repeated increase in prices of petroleum products, he said.