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.”