UPA ally NCP on Wednesday had a dig at Home Minister P. Chidambaram over his remarks criticizing the middle class for protesting against the rise in wheat and rice prices with its leader D.P. Tripathi saying that the sarcasm was unexpected from a “cultured and educated man”.

“I wish the common man in India was as prosperous as Chidambaram. I did not expect this kind of sarcastic remark from a cultured and educated man like Chidambaram,” Mr. Tripathi, also the spokesperson of NCP, said.

Talking to reporters in Bangalore on Tuesday, Mr. Chidambaram had said people were ready to pay Rs. 15 for a bottle of water and Rs. 20 for a cone ice cream, but protested against rise in prices of wheat and rice.

“You are prepared to pay Rs. 15 for a bottle of water, but we will not pay a one rupee increase in the price of a kilo of rice or a kilo of wheat. We are prepared to pay 20 rupees for an ice cream cone but we will not pay one rupee more for a kilo of rice or wheat,” he had said.

He was replying to a question on the plight of the middle class in view of high food inflation and price rise.

On Tuesday BJP too had attacked the Home Minister terming his remark as “scandalous” and “bizarre”.

“It seems that Mr Chidambaram has inappropriately made a scandalous remark against the middle class and is ridiculing them. BJP would treat this remark as a complete hate statement reflecting the inner contradictions of the government itself,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said.

Another BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain had said Mr. Chidambaram does not understand the pain of the common man as he is confined to “air-conditioned rooms and flying in planes”.

“Chidambaram and the Congress are far removed from the common man. His comments are a joke on the people in a country where 50-60 crore live below the poverty line,” he had said.

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