NEW DELHI: A day after the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi posted satirical couplet of famed Hindi poet Dushyant Kumar on status of hunger in the country, the BJP strongly reacted with accusations that the Opposition leader was seeking to malign the image of the country.
“Bhookh hai to sabra kar, roti nahi to kya hua, aajkal Dilli mein hai zer-e-bahas ye mudda (what if you’re hungry, the issue is being discussed in Delhi),” Gandhi had tweeted the famous lines of the Hindi poet in the context of the Global Hunger Index, which noted India slipping to 100th position from 97th.
Union Minister Smriti Irani retorted while quoting the tweet of Gandhi with a couplet of her own, saying “Ae Satta ki bhookh, sabra kar, aankde saath nahi to kya, khudgarzon ko zama kar, mulk ki badnami ka shor to macha hi lenge (Those who are power hungry, have patience, what if the statistics not there, bring together people who can raise noise to defame the country),” Irani, who is Union Minister for Information and broadcasting tweeted in the day.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram too jumped in the fray, while accusing the government of neglecting UPA’s flagship national food security act. Incidentally, the social media cell of the Congreses is highlighting a recent report on Global Hunger Index which suggests that India has seen a slide to 100th rank from 97th in 2016.
“India slips to 100th rank in Hunger Index because Food Security Act was neglected in last three years. Food Security is the foundation of all development. BJP govt has callously shelved Food Security Act. Why?,” Chidambaram tweeted.
The national food security act passed in August 2013 was Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s pet project and aimed at winning the 2014 national elections for the grand old party. Though no electoral benefits came to the Congress, the roll out of the act over the past three years has been a cause of concern.
The BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao in a media statement rejected the accusations of the Congress that India has slipped on the hunger index rankings.
“It’s true that India’s ranking on the index in 2014 was 55 but at that time only 78 countries featured in the list. The index in 2017 has an expanded list of 120 countries. Therefore, it’s unfair to claim that India has slipped in the ranking,” added Rao.
The BJP claimed that 44 countries who were better on the hunger indices were added in the list in 2017, which explained why India is now ranked at 110th position. The BJP further explained that India in 2014 had a score of 35.6 in 2014 in the hunger index which has now improved to 31.4.
In July this year, the Supreme Court observed that it was a pity that a legislation enacted by parliament for citizens' benefit was kept on the back-burner by various states. The apex court observed that almost four years had gone by since the act was enacted, but the authorities and bodies mandated to be set up under it have not been made functional in some states.
The Congress has accused the government of not pushing the envelope. The top court also noted that implementation of the food security law was an equal responsibility of the centre as well the states. A senior AICC functionary cited the report to allege that the government worked only for the rich and cared little about the marginalised, who were better off under the previous UPA.