Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar on Wednesday said it was possible to have "full meal at Rs 12 in Mumbai" even today, a remark that drew sharp reaction from BJP, which dubbed it "laughable".
Babbar said this at the AICC briefing in response to a volley of questions as he tried to explain that poverty has come down even as prices have risen. He was also asked about lower cutoff of expenditure limit to determine poverty and that how can the poor be able to have their full meal two times with a daily expenditure as low as Rs 28 or Rs 32 per day.
"People should have full meals two times a day. How one can have it is a very good question that you have asked. Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs 12. No no not bada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed," he told reporters.
Babbar at the same time said that he was not saying it was fine.
Ridiculing the remark on a news channel, one of BJP's television panelists Lalita K Mangalam said it was "laughable" for the Congress spokesperson to have said it.
To a question about rising prices of vegetables mainly tomato, Babbar said, "if we assess poverty by tomato, then it will be difficult. You may not be having tomato in cities but the poor people in villages will pluck a tomato and have it. Tell me whether he is rich or poor."
He, however, clarified that he was "not giving the definition of the poor".
"We are not shying away from the issue of price rise. Prices have risen but along with that the per capita expenditure has also risen... More than the ratio of price rise, our expenditure has risen," he said.