The BJP on Wednesday lashed out at home minister P Chidambaram for mocking the urban middle class on rising prices and said that his comment was an ugly joke on the common man.
"UPA II needs a reality check on the impact of price rise on the common man," party's spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters during a daily party briefing.
Chidambaram was on Tuesday quoted as saying: "We are prepared to pay 15 rupees for a bottle of water but we will not bear one rupee increase in the price of a kilo of wheat or a kilo of rice."
"We are prepared to pay rupees 20 for an ice cream cone, but won't pay one rupee more for a kilo of wheat or rice."
ON Wednesday, Chidambaram said he had made a "matter-of-fact" statement that had been distorted by the media and had not taken a dig at the common man.
In a statement, Chidambaram said he was "shocked and disgusted by the deliberate distortion of the relevant question and answer at the media briefing in Bangalore on Tuesday".
"The home minister made a matter-of-fact statement. He did not 'mock' or 'chide' anyone. If the interview is viewed, it will be seen that he spoke in a matter-of-fact manner," the statement said.
Clarifying further, the home minister said that in his Bangalore briefing he had referred to the price of crude oil and how the government was constrained to first raise petrol prices and then how the prices were reduced twice to benefit the middle class.
Admitting that food inflation was high, the minister said that higher procurement prices would benefit millions of farmers though there would be slight increase in food prices.
"The minister used the word 'we'. He did not use the words 'why do they make so much noise about price rise'. He did not say 'There needn't be any complaint for price rise when things are on the side of poor farmers'," the statement said, adding that the media had distorted his statement.