Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday distanced himself from Agriculture Minister Nilomoni Sen Deka’s remark of eight meals costing a total of Rs 20 in the state, saying it was his personal view.
During a week, which saw making and withdrawing comments on the cost of a meal by various leaders in the country, Mr. Deka, who is also the Horticulture and Food Processing Minister, had on Friday reportedly said that eight persons can have a proper meal for Rs 20.
“I have never said that I will get a meal for Rs 2. I do not know why he (Deka) said it and with what context. This was his personal views,” Mr. Gogoi told reporters here.
The Chief Minister, however, said the cost of a meal will vary according to the price of food items available.
“If we provide rice, dal and other items for just Re 1 each, then the cost will be very less,” Mr. Gogoi said.
On poverty, he said the state government will go by the Planning Commission’s definition as it varies at different places across the country.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, after triggering a huge controversy, on Friday expressed regrets over their respective remarks that one can have food for Rs 12 and Re 1.
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.
Congress’ Communication Department in-charge Ajay Maken had said, “We do not agree with Rs 12 and Rs 5 statement of some leaders.”
The meal remarks made by Mr. Babbar earned widespread ridicule with parties dubbing these as “absurd”, “foolish” and “illogical”.