Union minister Farooq Abdullah, who triggered a controversy by saying that people can fill their stomach by spending even Re. 1, on Friday expressed regret even as he claimed that his remarks had been taken out of context.

“The question is that you can fill you stomach by spending Re 1 and cannot fill it even with Rs 100. The question is what you want to eat. We want the country to progress. These things are necessary to take a country forward,” Mr. Abdullah had said on Thursday.

But after his remarks caused a furore, the National Conference leader on Friday issued a statement saying his statement on poverty figures issued by the Planning Commission have been taken out of context.

He also expressed “regret” if his statement caused any hurt.

“My comments on the cost of a meal in the media have been taken out of context but I realise that what I said may be misconstrued. I regret any hurt this may have caused,” Mr. Abdullah, whose party is an ally of the ruling UPA said.

His statement came soon after Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar expressed regret for his remarks that one can have a hearty meal for Rs. 12 in Mumbai.

Mr. 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 Rs. 5 in Delhi.

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