After furore, Raj Babbar regrets R12-meal remark

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SummaryAfter stirring a major controversy, Congress spokesman Raj Babbar has expressed regret for his remark that one could have a hearty meal for R12 in Mumbai, and his party today pleaded that the matter should now be allowed to rest.

After stirring a major controversy, Congress spokesman Raj Babbar has expressed regret for his remark that one could have a hearty meal for R12 in Mumbai, and his party today pleaded that the matter should now be allowed to rest.

Babbar’s regret came after the Congress distanced itself from his remarks as also those of another party colleague Rashid Masood, that meals could be had for R5 in Delhi.

“He (Babbar) has issued a categoric statement expressing regret. So we should leave the matter there,” Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury told a press conference here.

While seeking to downplay the issue, she said she was not aware in what context Babbar had made the remarks. To repeated questions on the matter, she replied that she had no authority to condemn Babbar’s statement, or otherwise. But she referred to the statement issued by Congress’ communication department in-charge Ajay Maken, who said, “We do not agree with the R12 and R5 statement of some leaders.”

The meal remarks made by Babbar earned widespread ridicule with parties dubbing them “absurd”, “foolish” and “illogical”.

Maken, at the same time, attacked BJP for criticising the R33.30 Poverty Line figures of the Planning Commission, saying the opposition party “should explain why it was R16.73 in the 59th NSSO survey of 2003 and accepted by BJP/NDA government”.

“Unlike the BJP NDA, we have de-linked this poverty line from all 150 Central govt schemes including NREGA, ICDS, MDM, NRHM, SSA, PDS except one. In NSSO survey-1993-94 to 2004-05, the average decline in poverty was 0.74% per year. During UPA it accelerated three times to 2.18% per year,” Maken said on Twitter.

He instead claimed that during Congress-led UPA, poverty had declined from 37.2% in 2004-5 to 21.9% — a decline from 40.71 crore to 26.93 crore people below the poverty line.

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