Union Minister Ashwini Choubey, opining over the soaring prices of onions in the country said that he is a "vegetarian," thus is clueless about the market prices. Ashwini Choubey's response comes even as the country is reeling under the rising prices of onions. The Union Minister distanced himself from the issue claiming that he has 'never tasted an onion.'
He said, "I am a vegetarian. I have never tasted an onion. So, how will a person like me know about the situation (market prices) of onions."
Amid the onion debate, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was heavily criticised for stating that she does not eat 'onions.' In response to the backlash, Sitharaman attacked the Congress party citing the soar in onion prices back in 2012, under the UPA regime.
Speaking in the Parliament, Sitharaman said, "I do not eat onion has become major criticism for this govt. They say I am elitist. I do not eat onions. They do not talk about the measures I have taken for onions. If out governmnet is elitist, then what about Ujjawala Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana, are these elitist? Earlier in 2012 for onion price rise, they said 'when Urban middle class can buy a bottle of mineral water and ice cream for Rs 20 and Rs 15, why do they make so much noise on price rise?' How is this party levelling me as an elitist."
The government had on Wednesday said that the state-run trading firm MMTC has placed another onion import order of 4,000 tonnes from Turkey and the shipments are expected to reach by mid-January. This is in addition to 17,090 tonnes of onions already contracted, which includes 6,090 tonnes from Egypt and 11,000 tonnes from Turkey, it said in a statement.
"Does she eat avocado?" quipped former finance minister P Chidambaram, who arrived in Parliament on Thursday after spending 106 days in Tihar jail, when asked to comment on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's comment that her family didn't eat onion much. Speaking at a press conference later, Chidambaram said that his comments on the finance minister was not "sarcastic". "I was not sarcastic, I was quoting her. They should have planned in advance, what is the point of importing (onion) now, when will they arrive. But if the finance minister says I don't eat onions, that shows the mindset of this government," he said.
On Wednesday when asked by an MP if she ate onions, Sitharaman had said, "I belong to a family which does not eat onion and garlic."
According to PTI, Rahul Gandhi said, "Nobody asking you whether you eat onions. You are the Finance Minister and we are asking why economy is struggling." 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.