Congress senior leader P. Chidambaram, questioned if Nirmala Sitharaman ate avacados on Thursday, in retaliation to the Finance Minister's comment on onions. A day earlier, Finance Minister in a vehement argument over the soaring onion prices in Lok Sabha said she does not eat much of 'onion or garlic.'
In response to which, former Finance Minister said, "The Finance Minister said yesterday that she doesn't eat onions, so what does she eat? Does she eat avocado?" Chidambaram, who has been released from Tihar Jail on bail after 106 days in custody in the INX Media money-laundering case, was present in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. During the ongoing winter session in the Parliament, Sitharaman said that the increase in onion prices do not affect her much. "I don't eat a lot of onions and garlic, so don't worry. I come from a family that doesn't care much for onions," the Finance Minister said.
Chidambaram, who walked out of jail on Wednesday night, joined other Congress MPs voicing their protest against the steep hike in onion prices and said he was happy to be back. "The government cannot suppress my voice in Parliament," the Rajya Sabha MP told reporters in Parliament complex before the proceedings of the Upper House. Chidambaram returned the greetings and sat on his regular seat in the second row of the Opposition bench beside Sharma. He asked for business scheduled from the staff and went through it carefully till papers were laid in the House.
Nirmala Sitharaman had said in the Lok Sabha that the government had taken several steps to check rising prices of onion and also initiated steps to improve technology for better storage of the kitchen staple. Attributing shortage to low production, the minister had said there were severe "structural problems" related to onions.
The price of onion will come down by December end or by the first week of January, said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister R P Swain. He said the onion is being procured from other states like Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh as the production of the vegetable bulb here is not adequate. The minister also claimed the government has opened 256 fair price shops to sell onion at affordable rates, the people from different parts of the state said the vegetable has not been available for the last two days.
Holding banners and shouting slogans demanding that the government reduce the prices and "stop harassing" the poor, the Congress MPs protested with a basket full of onions. Prices of onion in many places have crossed Rs 100 per kg because of less production.
We don’t care if the Hon’ble Finance Minister eats onions or not. Let ordinary Indians buy affordable onions is our demand. Bring the prices down and help our farmers. #MehengaiMaarGayi #EconomicSlowdown #OnionPrices pic.twitter.com/G2g6iGV6Va— Gaurav Gogoi (@GauravGogoiAsm) December 5, 2019
(With PTI inputs)