In his maiden address in the Rajya Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, on Monday, reacted in a tough manner to the ‘pakoda’ controversy. In an apparent attack on the Congress’ ‘pakoda jibe’, Shah said in the House that “being a street vendor is still better than being jobless”. Shah also responded to former FM P Chidambaram’s attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying, “I was just reading Chidambaram’s tweet. I am not denying the unemployment. But this is after you ruled the country for 55 years. Why couldn’t Congress find the solution to this? If a poor person sells ‘pakodas’ today, it is possible that the generations after him end up being industrialists.” Earlier, former finance minister and senior leader of Congress, in a tweet, said, “there are people who started selling pakodas under Mudra scheme, can this be called employment?” Chidambaram also posted this: “Even selling pakodas is a ‘job’ said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let’s count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as ’employed’ people”.”
Reacting sharply to Chidambaram’s witty take on PM’s remark, Shah said, “Many governments came to power with “gareebi hatao” slogan, but it is only the BJP which has worked towards it,” Shah said. He further said that selling pakoda is not shameful adding that today a son of chailwala is PM of this nation and is sitting in the House. He said, “I believe a person earning livelihood with hard work is as big in stature as these people sitting in this House. In fact comparing those selling pakodas with beggars is a shameful thing to do.” PM Narendra Modi, in his interview with Zee News, had said, “If a man selling pakodas outside the Zee TV office takes home Rs 200 at the end of the day, is that not employment?”
Cornering the Congress, Shah said only one family ruled the country for 55 years since independence but over 60 per cent of people were deprived of having a bank account. “For the first time after independence, a non-Congress party was given mandate by the public and it was BJP government led by PM Modi. In spite of getting an absolute majority, we formed the government with NDA members,” Amit Shah said, adding that the BJP government faced a daunting task of pulling India back from on track of development after years of misrule.
Earlier, in the day, in the wake of shouting of slogans by opposition MPs, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had adjourned proceedings till 2 PM.