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Nirmala Sitharaman comments on Rahul Gandhi’s criticism over latest budget 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presenting Budget 2022 in Parliament.

Recently during her Rajya Sabha speech, Nirmala Sitharaman took a page from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book and fought back by targeting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. The FM fought over the comment of Rahul Gandhi, where he criticized the new budget. 

The News: Sitharaman used a 2013 comment by Mr Gandhi in which he described poverty as a “state of mind,” saying that it “… does not mean a scarcity of food, money, or material things” and that “… if one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty” to criticize the Congress leader.

  • ‘Poverty does not mean a lack of food, money, or material possessions,’ said your former president. It is possible to overcome it if one has self-confidence.’ ‘It’s a state of mind,’ he added. “I’m not going to name names, but we know who it is,” Ms Sitharaman said.
  • Please be specific… is this the ‘poverty’ you’d like me to address? “Poverty of the mind…” The Finance Minister continued despite boos from opposition MPs.

What is going on: Sitharaman cited pre-2014 consumer price index figures of 9.1% during the global financial crisis versus 6.25% now during Covid to declare that “the opposition couldn’t handle a lesser crisis.”

  • Sitharaman even slammed the Congress after Kapil Sibal said that India has been in ‘rahu kaal’ – an inauspicious time of day according to Hindu astrology – since 2014.
  • Meanwhile, the Congress has claimed that the government is retaliating because it is “scared of Rahul Gandhi”; Mr Gandhi declared this week that the Prime Minister is afraid of the party.

What are they saying: “It’s no surprise that we call it ‘amrit kaal.’ If we don’t have a vision at 100 (years of independence), we will suffer… when Congress had no vision other than benefiting one family for 65 years.”

  • “‘Rahu kaal’ is when the Congress says ‘ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon’ (a reference to the party’s election slogan in UP and other states), but girls cannot fight in Rajasthan,” the Union Minister explained.
  • “‘Rahu kaal’ was then, when an ordinance brought by the Prime Minister of their own party was torn in front of the media,” she continued, referring to Mr Gandhi’s reaction to a 2013 ordinance on convicted lawmakers enacted by the former Congress-led UPA government.

“ In rage, the Finance Minister made a statement about Rahul Gandhi, We raised the issue during the budget debate that 27 crore people have fallen below the poverty line as a result of the economic crisis. We had many questions regarding farmers, unemployment, and the coronavirus crisis,” MP Shaktisinh Gohil said. Gohil further added, “but the finance minister did not answer our questions.”

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