NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims that someone selling "pakoras (fritters)" is employed, cannot understand the pain of a father who somehow gets his son educated by going beyond his means, Samajwadi Party MP Neeraj Shekhar said on Friday.
Participating in a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Union Budget 2018-19, he accused Modi of insulting highly-educated youth and had hurting their self-respect by this statement.
"I totally agree with the Prime Minister when he says that selling pakoras is an employment. Even Mahatma Gandhi said that no occupation is lowly. There should be dignity of labour.
"But I want to ask the Prime Minister that when a pakora seller, by going beyond his means and skipping meals, somehow gets his son educated... does he expect his son to sell pakoras along with him? But the Prime Minister is suggesting that a pakora seller's son should become a pakora seller only," said Shekhar, the son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
"I know, the Prime Minister can never understand the pain of a father (whose well-educated son is being advised to sell pakoras). But at least (BJP President) Amitbhai Shah should understand the pain of a father who is educating his son beyond his means," he added.
In a TV interview ahead of the Budget session, Modi, in response to a question on rising unemployment and lack of jobs, had said that a person selling pakoras is considered "employed". The Prime Minister's remark drew much flak from the opposition though his party had supported him.