Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia came under sharp attack from sections of the political class over fresh poverty estimates pegging the poverty line at Rs 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities and Rs 22 per capita consumption in rural areas.
Ahluwalia is away from ground realities. He needs to be removed as every time he speaks,things go wrong. He has never spoken a good thing. No one is agreeing with the latest data, NDA convenor and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said in an impromptu discussion. The JD(U) chief added that the poor should be shot or given poison if such a mechanism was adopted to end poverty.
Targeting the government,Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the Prime Minister should take the blame for the figures as he heads the Plan panel. Asserting that the responsibility lies with the government and not the Planning Commission,she appealed to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi,who was present in the House,to reject the latest estimates. The effort is not to wipe out poverty but to eliminate the poor, she said.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said people sitting in air-conditioned rooms were giving figures when the reality was that 65 per cent of the population was below poverty line without proper electricity and potable water.