Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led government over the rising prices of essential commodities as well as unemployment, saying this has created a state of “financial emergency”.

“Back-breaking inflation, life-threatening unemployment and falling GDP has created a state of financial emergency,” Gandhi tweeted. “Rise in prices of vegetables, pulses, edible oil, LPG gas and other food items has snatched away the poor’s bread and butter. Modi ji has broken the domestic budgets of countrymen into pieces.”

Earlier in the day, data released showed that wholesale inflation rose to 2.59% in December 2019, compared to 0.58% in November. The consumer price inflation increased to 7.35% in December 2019 – the highest since July 2014, according to data released on Monday.

Present a roadmap for tackling rising prices, says Congress

The Congress demanded that the prime minister convene a meeting of all parties and present a roadmap to tackle inflation, PTI reported. Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in politics of hatred and division, and said he should focus on the country’s development instead.

“We demand that the prime minister should come forward and convene a meeting of all Opposition leaders and lay down a roadmap for tackling and bringing down prices of essential commodities in the next 30 days,” he said, adding that India’s nutrition and food value will both be under serious threat if this does not happen. “We sincerely hope that prime minister, who came to power saying that he is going to attack inflation, is the same prime minister today who is on a ‘maun vrat’ [vow of silence] on the unprecedented inflation that plagues the food budget of the common household.”

“In last nine months, inflation is going up rapidly every month but PM is silent...Where is the prime minister,” he asked. “Today, onions are selling at Rs 85 a kg against Rs 8 a kg in 2014...but prime minister is missing in action.”

Surjewala questioned if Modi was even concerned about the millions of households that now have to cut down on their daily food budget. “Is he even concerned about millions of India’s daughters and women who have no money in their hand to cook every day’s meal and to provide adequate nutrition to the family,” he said. “India is on the cusp of an unprecedented food price inflation but the prime minister is absolutely silent.”

“In this entire atmosphere, the only magic wand that Modi ji has is division and hatred,” the Congress spokesperson alleged. “When any individual or an executive of a company, or a thinker or a writer, or journalist or a policy analyst ever makes a point that the CAA and NRC and NPR are inherently divisive and diversionary in order to draw attention away from rampant food inflation, from unprecedented joblessness,” Surjewala added. “So, the only answer then is to declare such people anti-national or tell them not to do business in India. I think that is entirely myopic and a rudimentary approach bordering on being idiotic. We humbly, respectfully tell the prime minister to look within to introspect and to move beyond his agenda of division to agenda of development.”

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi accused the government of picking pockets of the common man and also taking away their livelihood.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also attacked the Modi government. He said if unemployment rises and incomes decline, there is danger of youth and students “exploding in anger” and asked whether this is the “achhe din [good days]” promised by the ruling party.

The Indian economy recorded a growth rate of just 4.5% for the July-September 2019 quarter, the lowest in six years. The economy has been hit by weak consumption and thousands of job cuts. Last week, the government said the Gross Domestic Product growth rate for 2019-’20 would be 5%, the lowest in 11 years.