A day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's comment that her family didn't eat onion much, BJP leader and Union minister Ashwini Choubey has tried to downplay the ongoing onion crisis by saying that he never tasted onions and therefore he is not aware of its market price. "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," Choubey said.
Sitharaman is facing the wrath of the Opposition for her remarks with former finance minister P Chidambaram, who arrived in Parliament on Thursday after spending 106 days in Tihar jail, quipping "Does she eat avocado?"
#VIDEO | On being asked about the rising prices of onions, Union Minister Ashwini Choubey says, "I am a vegetarian. I have never tasted an onion. So, how will a person like me know about the situation."— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) December 5, 2019
Video credit: ANI pic.twitter.com/ra5DJreSEv
Speaking at a press conference later, Chidambaram said that his comments on the finance minister were not "sarcastic".
"I was not sarcastic, I was quoting her. They should have planned in advance, what is the point of importing (onion) now, when will they arrive. But if the finance minister says I don't eat onions, that shows the mindset of this government," he said.
On Wednesday when asked by a fellow lawmaker if she ate onions, Sitharaman had said, "I belong to a family which does not eat onion and garlic."
The government had on Wednesday said that the state-run trading firm MMTC has placed another onion import order of 4,000 tonnes from Turkey and the shipments are expected to reach by mid-January.
This is in addition to 17,090 tonnes of onions already contracted, which includes 6,090 tonnes from Egypt and 11,000 tonnes from Turkey, it said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters in the Parliament Complex while joining other Congress MPs protesting against the steep hike in onion prices, Chidambaram said that while he would not speak on his court case, he would speak in the House and the government would not be able to "suppress" him.