New Delhi: As the price of the onion continued to go high despite a number of measures being taken by the Central government, the Opposition Congress and other parties on Thursday surmounted attack on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others in the ruling government.
The political blame game further escalated after Sitharaman in Lok Sabha stated that she does not eat onion or garlic as she is from a family where the use of onion is not much in use. She said this while replying to a query of a member in the parliament. However, she has later clarified that her remark on onion has been taken out of context and used for politicising the issue.
The Opposition leaders, who slammed the Central government for the failed policies to control the onion price rise, include Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and former finance minister P Chidambaram. While from Left party, Sitaram Yechury slammed the Centre for the issue, Mamata Banerjee from TMC came down heavily on the ruling government at the Centre for its inability to handle the price rise in the country. Here are top reactions from the prominent leaders.
Rahul Gandhi: Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, who is on a trip to the south Indian state of Kerala, on Thursday said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is incompetent as she has no idea about the economy of the country and also does not know how to handle the price rise of onions.
He also said the finance minister’s job is not to say what she eats. “The Finance Minister’s job is not to tell India what she eats. And the fact of the matter is that she has no idea on what is going on. Basically she is incompetent. The UPA believed in putting competent people in charge of the economy,” Rahul said.
“Finance Minister of the country is asked about onion prices and she has that arrogance to answer that she doesn’t eat onion or garlic,” he added.
P Chidambaram: Holding the first press conference after being released from Tihar Jail, Congress leader slammed Sitharaman for her ‘not eating onion’ remark and asked whether she eats avocado instead.
“I thought the Finance Minister said yesterday she does not eat onions, she is not bothered… What does she eat? Does she eat avocado? She does not eat onions,” Chidambaram said.
Sitaram Yechury: Left party leader Sitaram Yechury said on Twitter: “The only thing more alarming than this government’s inability to control prices of onions is the callousness of Modi and his Ministers. The PM is ‘maun’, and his Ministers can’t stop revealing their contempt for Indians by talking about their own diets.”
Mamata Banerjee: Looking at the GDP projections and onion price rise in the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the economy is in ‘a state of doom and gloom’. “Look what has happened to the GDP. Our economy is under a state of gloom and doom,” she said.
Azam Khan: Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Thursday advocated people not to eat onion keeping its soaring price in mind. Highlighting that people of Jain community don’t eat onion, he said the economy of the country can be saved by not eating onion, garlic and meat.
“Stop eating onions, what is the compulsion to eat it? Our Jain brothers don’t eat. Stop eating onions, stop eating garlic, stop eating meat, everything will be saved. A Queen had once said ‘if they don’t have bread then let them eat cake’,” Azam Khan said.
Dinesh Gundu Rao: Senior Karnataka Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao slammed the Centre over the rising prices of onion, saying those who purchase more onions might get Income Tax notice.
“Today the price of onion is so high that if you buy a lot of onions in bulk, you may get Income Tax Notice. Petrol prices, diesel prices, onion prices all have hit the roof,” he said.
Nirmala Sitharaman: After facing strong criticism for her remark on onion, finally Sitharaman broke her silence on the matter and said her remark has been taken out of context to give it a political shape.
To defend the minister, her office later posted a video of her speech on Twitter explaining in detail the steps her government has taken to control the soaring price of the onion.
Ashwini Choubey: Coming to the rescue of Sitharaman, his own cabinet colleague, Union Minister Ashwini Choubey said he himself has never tasted onion, hence he has no idea about its price in the market.
“I am a vegetarian. I have never tasted an onion. So, how will a person like me know about the situation (market prices) of onions,” Ashwini Choubey said.
It is important to mention that the Central government is facing severe criticism from the Opposition members over the soaring price of onion over the last one month. In some places, the price has reached up to Rs 150 per kg.