Full meal available in Mumbai at Rs 12: Raj Babbar

New Delhi: Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar on Wednesday said it was possible to have "full meal at Rs 12 in Mumbai" even today, a remark that drew sharp reaction from BJP, which dubbed it "laughable".
Babbar said this at the AICC briefing in response to a volley of questions as he tried to explain that poverty has come down even as prices have risen.
He was also asked about lower cutoff of expenditure limit to determine poverty and that how can the poor be able to have their full meal two times with a daily expenditure as low as Rs 28 or Rs 32 per day.
"People should have full meals two times a day. How one can have it is a very good question that you have asked. Even today in Mumbai city, I can have a full meal at Rs 12. No no not bada paav. So much of rice, daal saambhar and with that some vegetables are also mixed," he told reporters.
Babbar at the same time said that he was not saying it was fine.
Ridiculing the remark on a news channel, one of BJP's television panelists Lalita K Mangalam said it was "laughable" for the Congress spokesperson to have said it.
To a question about rising prices of vegetables mainly tomato, Babbar said, "if we assess poverty by tomato, then it will be difficult. You may not be having tomato in cities but the poor people in villages will pluck a tomato and have it. Tell me whether he is rich or poor."
He, however, clarified that he was "not giving the definition of the poor".
"We are not shying away from the issue of price rise. Prices have risen but along with that the per capita expenditure has also risen... More than the ratio of price rise, our expenditure has risen," he said.
Next: Parties slam poverty data 
Parties slam poverty data
 New Delhi: Slamming the Planning Commission data showing a fall in the number of people living below the poverty line, the BJP on Wednesday said it was a “conspiracy” to deprive the poor of the benefits of government schemes. The party  challenged Congress leaders to show how a person could survive on Rs 33 per day.
“The latest report showing a reduction in the number of people below the poverty line is a conspiracy of the Congress against the poor to deprive them of the benefits of BPL schemes. This is the Congress mindset against the poor,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
CPM leader Brinda Karat said the figures are “dubious” and “discredited” and amounts to “adding salt to the wounds of the poor”. Rejecting the figures, BJD leader Jay Panda said a lot of work remains to be done in tackling poverty as the country still has a large population of poor people.
The Congress conceded that there has been price rise but said poverty has declined at a much faster rate during UPA regime as compared to NDA rule.
“It is true that there has been a price rise. There is no need to cover it up, though the rates have also come down recently. But it is also true that poverty rate has also come down,” party spokes-person Raj Babbar told the media.
Delhi BJP chief sends Rs 33 money orders to PM, Sonia
Taking a dig at the plan panel’s formula for calculating poverty figures, Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel on Wednesday sent money orders of Rs 33 each to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and deputy chairman of the plan panel Montek Singh Ahluwalia, challenging them to spend a day on the amount.
He said this was BJP’s way of protesting against panel’s criteria that anybody whose consumption of goods and services in exceed Rs 33 in cities per day was not poor.
Meanwhile, NCP leader and Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel said. “There are many miles to go before we sleep,” he said, while suggesting that there should be no politics over the issue.

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