The Centre clarified what Gandhi had said was that “poverty comprises two elements: poverty of thought and poverty in material conditions, the latter manifesting in food, money, education and so on”.
Referring to experiences of women’s self-help groups, Gandhi had said “poverty of thought has to be overcome so as to achieve self-confidence, leading to politics of one’s own and a share in democracy and its institutions”.
Gandhi’s reported statement became important in the context of the intellectual debate on the Planning Commission’s estimate of India’s poverty level, which in the organisation’s view has come down to 21.9% of the population.
However, the opposition was quick to react to this.
“The statement itself was a reflection of the mindset of Rahul, who is yet to understand India and its people,” Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said.
(With inputs from PTI)