‘Do you eat Egyptian onions?’ The question that triggered Nirmala Sitharaman’s viral response in Parliament

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Updated: December 5, 2019 12:28:21 PM

The Modi government is facing criticism from opposition parties as onions are being sold for Rs 100-120 in retail marker across the country. To check the prices, the government has decided to import onions from Egypt, Afghanistan and other countries.

onion prices Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

The social media has been flooded with reactions to a short clip of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharmaan on Wednesday saying that she doesn’t eat onions and garlic, allegedly implying that the high prices do not affect her personally. “I don’t eat a lot of onions and garlic, so don’t worry. I come from a family that doesn’t care much for onions,” she replied when a member asked her whether she eats onions imported from Egypt.

The minister’s remarks came after NCP’s Baramati MP Supriya Sule asked her about the reasons why onion production was less this year, especially in her home state Maharashtra. The western state produces 38% of total onions consumed by the country. Sule had asked, “Why has the production of onion gone down? I am not happy eating Egyptian onions, why should India do it. We export rice, we export milk… so many products, we are the second largest rice producer in the world. Why we are doing this? Isn’t it regressive?”

As soon as Sitharaman started replying to Sule’s question, a leader from the opposition benches interrupted her and asked her whether she is consuming imported onions. “Do you eat Egyptian onions?” a member can be heard asking Sitharaman. It was after this intervention that Sitharaman said that she doesn’t eat onions. Her reply to the opposition MP ended up drawing laughter from her party colleagues.

The Modi government is facing criticism from opposition parties as onions are being sold for Rs 100-120 in retail marker across the country. To check the prices, the government has decided to import onions from Egypt, Afghanistan and other countries.

Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha that several measures have been taken to check the rising prices of onions and the government has initiated steps to improve technology for better storage of the kitchen staple. According to the government, around 15 trucks are arriving in India daily via the Atari-Wagah border.

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