Modi's remark on malnutrition sparks outcry
The Congress and civil society groups on Thursday attacked Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for his controversial remarks attributing the high rate of malnutrition in his state to figure-conscious young girls.
In an interview published in the Wall Street journal (WSJ) on Wednesday, Modi in his response to a query on high rate of malnutrition, said: "Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state and is also a middle class state. The middle class is more beauty-conscious than health-conscious - that is a challenge."
His remarks triggered an angry reaction across the country, prompting the state government to release Modi's complete reply to the question.
"We are the first state in the country to raise the issue of malnutrition. It came to our mind that Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state and it is also a middle class state…A lot needs to be explained to the people to have good nutritional habits and we are doing it."
The explanation did not convince his rivals with the Congress charging him with insensitiveness towards women.
"He (Modi) is not even sensitive towards women who support their families by sacrificing their food for the sake of their families in Gujarat and now he is saying that women are not eating because they are health conscious. What can be more light statement than this?" said I&B minister Ambika Soni.
A leading social scientist professor Ghanshyam Shah slammed the remarks terming them as an 'insult' to the people of the state.
"Bluntly speaking, it appears that either he does not know what he is speaking or he is terribly unaware of the ground reality. Here, malnutrition is not an issue among middle class people. This issue is prevalent among poor and weaker sections like minorities, tribals, dalits and rural OBCs," he said.