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Rahul's poverty remark stirs up hornet’s nest

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi came in for sharp criticism today from political parties, for saying that poverty was a "state of mind" at function in Allahabad on Monday.

lucknow Updated: Aug 07, 2013 03:13 IST
BK Singh
BK Singh
Hindustan Times
Rahul Gandhi,poverty,Rahul Gandhi remark

The Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute on Tuesday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s reported statement on poverty being a “state of the mind” had been misrepresented in the media.

Speaking at the Dalit Resource Centre of the institute, Gandhi on Monday had reportedly said, “Poverty is a state of mind (and) has nothing to do with the shortage of food, money or material things.”

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)

First Published: Aug 06, 2013 15:20 IST