At a time when there has been much criticism of the official figure for poverty that puts anyone earning more than Rs. 32 in urban areas and Rs. 27 in rural areas as above the poverty line, statements by Congress leaders justifying the figure led to a political slugfest on Thursday.
The context: Congress leaders Rasheed Masood and Raj Babbar claimed that one could have a square meal for Rs. 5 in Delhi and Rs. 12 in Mumbai.
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi took a dig at the Congress offering Rs. 24 to any Congress leader for a day to have two square meals.
“We have mid-day meals, too, in our country, though quality of food is a different question. The reality is that in a Varanasi village one can’t have a meal in the amounts cited. True, one can have free meals at a gurdwara or a temple,” Joshi said.
“The fact remains that it is only Chhattisgarh that gives dal and rice at R5 so that one can have a meal at this price. We are willing to give any Congress leader Rs. 12 or Rs. 5 so that they show us where to have a square meal at these costs. I hope they aren’t talking of e-food eaten online.”
Joshi’s statement was in reaction to the two leaders’ controversial statements. To recall, Rasheed Masood had said, “You can eat a meal in Delhi in Rs. 5, I don’t know about Mumbai. You can get a meal for Rs. 5 near Jama Masjid.” Raj Babbar had said something similar in Mumbai, “Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs. 12. No, no, not just vada paav. I can get a lot of rice, daal, sambar and some vegetables too.”