Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to latest criticism against her, suggesting that her remarks about not eating onions were taken out of context. During the debate over corporate tax reduction bill in Rajya Sabha, the minister said that her remark was "in answer to a particular question".
"When people criticise this government for economy, welcome, please do criticise... But to digress from the facts... Like for instance, today... calling out what is convenient and saying 'Oh, she said she doesn't eat onions'. If only people understand what I said in the debate was in answer to a particular question about do you eat (onions)," Sitharaman said before the Rajya Sabha.
"That becomes a major criticism of this government! When I have spent more than 20 minutes talking about what kind of steps this government has taken for better management of onion distribution, for the use of public money to have greater storage of onion and also making sure than urgent purchases are happening from Rajasthan, with truckloads going to Jharkhand, Bihar," she further added.
Onion prices have been rising incessantly across India, reaching as high as Rs 150 per kg in certain parts of the country. During a debate on the steep onion prices in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Sitharaman had said that she doesn't eat onion. The statement drew flak from public. Even former Finance Minister P Chidambaram took potshots at her during a press conference earlier today.
Sitharaman suggested that the government was open to criticism on economic policies, but calling the government elitist would be inaccurate. "You may like it, you may not like it. You may think it's adequate, you may think it's not adequate, I am quite willing to buy that. But to throw an allegation that this government is elitist... I condemn this approach," Sitharaman said.