Babbar regrets his Rs 12-meal remarks - The New Indian Express

Babbar regrets his Rs 12-meal remarks

Published: 27th July 2013 09:33 AM

Last Updated: 27th July 2013 09:33 AM

Congress MP and spokesperson Raj Babbar on Friday expresed regret for his rather light-hearted remark on the issue of poverty ratio. He had claimed that one square meal requires no more than `12 in Mumbai.

Regretting his remarks, Babbar pleaded the matter be allowed to rest. Babbar expressed his regret for his comment as it hurts the sentiments of people and bring political harm to the Congress.

It was pointed out to him that even the highly subsidised ‘thali’ meal at Parliament canteen costs more.

However, Babbar’s regret could not save him from the media flak or demonstrations by the Opposition party workers outside his Mumbai residence. He was forced to take back his comments after the Congress distanced itself from his remarks as also those of another Congress MP Rashid Masood who claimed that meals cost only `5 in Delhi.

“He (Babbar) has issued a categorical statement expressing regret. So we should leave the matter there,” Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury told reporters.

She also referred to the statementissued by Congress’ communication department in-charge Ajay Maken who said: “We do not agree with `12 and `5 statement of some leaders.”

The meal remarks earned widespread ridicule with Opposition parties dubbing these as “absurd.”

But while distancing the Congress from these flippant remarks, Maken also attacked the BJP.

He said the Opposition party, “Should explain why it was Rs 16.73 in 59th NSSO survey of 2003 and accepted by BJP/NDA Government” when it was so upset with Rs 33 poverty benchmark now.

Maken sought to underline that unlike the BJP-led NDA Government, the UPA Government has not linked its 150-odd welfare programmes to the poverty figures of the Planning Commission.

“In NSSO survey-1993-94 to 2004-05, the average decline in poverty was 0.74%/year. During UPA it accelerated three times to 2.18% points per year,” Maken tweeted.

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