The BJP on Saturday reacted sharply to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the government over India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index, saying that Rahul misrepresented the facts to damage India’s image.
While BJP spokesperson GVL Rao issued a statement saying Gandhi’s attack was mischievous and baseless, Smriti Irani, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Textiles, responded to Gandhi’s tweet that had veiled criticism of the government in a similar fashion.
“Ae satta ki bhookh, sabr kar, aankde sath nahi to kya, khudgarzon ko jama kar, mulk ki badnami ka shor toh macha hi lenge (hey hunger for power, be patient, what if you don’t have the numbers, you can collect selfish people, noise can be made to malign the country),” she wrote. In another tweet Irani said “ Not surprising that in his keenness to run down Hon PM, Rahul Gandhi maligns the Nation.”
Along with this tweet, Irani posted a statement by Health Minister J P Nadda which read: “Facts vs Fiction Global Hunger Index to enlighten people who are keen to run down our country by twisting facts.”
BJP spokesperson Rao said the Opposition’s “allegation” was a “scurrilous attempt” to tarnish the image of India. “The Opposition’s allegation that India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2017 report has slipped to 100th position from 55th in 2014 is mischievous, baseless and represents travesty of truth,” he said in a statement.
Rejecting the allegations, Rao explained that in 2014, India’s ranking on this index was 55th, but at that time only 76 countries were included in the ranking.
In the Global Hunger Index in 2017, he said, 44 countries which were not part of the index in 2014 and which have always had better development indices compared to India, have been included. “By deliberately suppressing this fact, Rahul Gandhi and Congress party are guilty of deliberate prevarication and obfuscation,” he said.
Gandhi had attacked the government with a couplet by Dushyant Kumar. “Bhookh hai to sabr kar, roti nahi to kya hua, aajkal dilli mein hai zer-e-behas yeh mudda (if you are hungry, be patient, what if bread is not available, the issue is being discussed).”