Out on bail, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took a sharp swipe at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over her onion remarks during his explosive press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Replying to a question by a reporter, Chidambaram said that the ‘onion remark’ shows the mindset of the Narendra Modi government. “She behaves like I don’t know about these onion-eating people! Does she eat avocado?,” Chidambaram quipped. Chidambaram was referring to the remarks made by Sitharaman during the Lok Sabha debate on Wednesday. While replying to a question posed by NCP MP Supriya Sule in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, a lawmaker can be heard asking Sitharaman whether she eats onions? The Finance Minister replied, "I don't eat much of onion and garlic. I come from such a family which doesn't have much to do with onion."
After making a brief admission about not consuming much of onion, Sitharaman elaborated on government's policy for the benefit of onion farmers. Sitharaman on Wednesday said in the Lok Sabha that the government has taken several steps to check rising prices of onion and has initiated steps to improve technology for better storage of the kitchen staple. The minister also dismissed the criticism that there was any fear among the investors by pointing out that FDI inflows have gone up to $209 billion during the first half of the current fiscal from USD 17 billion in the same period a year ago.
Replying to the debate on the first batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants, which was later passed by the Lok Sabha, she said the government has taken several steps to check rising prices of onion include ban on exports, imposition of stock limit, import and transfer of onion from surplus to deficit area. Prices of onion in many places have crossed Rs 100 per kg because of less production.
On Thursday, while attending Parliament, Chidambaram joined other Congress leaders including Adhir Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi and others to protest at Parliament premises against rising onion prices. Holding banners and shouting slogans demanding that the government reduce the prices and "stop harassing" the poor, the Congress MPs protested with a basket full of onions.