A BJP MP said in the Lok Sabha Thursday that those claiming there was a slump in the automobile sector were trying to “defame the country”, and traffic jams were proof there was no slowdown.
Virendra Singh Mast, the BJP MP from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, said: “To defame the nation and the government, people are saying that the automobile sector has slowed down. If there is a decline in automobile sales, why do roads have traffic jams?”
Mast made the remarks while participating in a debate on agriculture in the House. On the issue of the rising prices of onions, the MP said he was willing to provide Opposition members a truck full of onions at Rs 25 per kg.
Saying “superior quality onions” were produced in Muhammadabad town in Ballia, Mast said Opposition members should accompany him to his constituency, where he would provide them onions at low prices.
Earlier in the day, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union minister Ashwini Chobey had both said they didn’t know much about onion prices as they didn’t consume onion.
“Main itna lehsun, pyaaz nahi khati hoon ji. Main aise pariwar se aati hoon jaha onion, pyaaz se matlab nahi rakhte (I do not eat onions and garlic much. I come from a family where we have nothing to do with onions),” Sitharaman said in the Lok Sabha.
Choubey, meanwhile, said a vegetarian couldn’t be expected to know much about onion prices. “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,” he said.
Mast is not the first BJP MP to come up with controversial arguments against the economic slowdown. In October, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said three Bollywood movies earning crores of rupees was proof there was no slowdown.
“I was told that on October 2, which is observed as one of the national holidays, three Hindi movies garnered Rs 120 crore business on that day. Unless the economy is sound in the country, how can only three movies collect so much business in a single day?” Prasad had said.
(with PTI inputs)
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