NEW DELHI: There seem to be no end to the Congress's woes.
Home Minister P Chidambaram stirred the hornet's nest on Tuesday when he mocked the urban middle class for its opposition to rising prices.
Unwittingly, however, he equipped the Bharatiya Janata Party with a lot of ammunition and the principal opposition party has now trained its guns at Chidambaram saying that the UPA needs a reality check on the impact of price rise on the common man.
Chidambaram had said on Tuesday in Bangalore that the common man is "prepared to pay Rs 15 for a bottle of mineral water or Rs 20 for an ice-cream cone, but not bear one rupee increase in the price of a kilo of wheat or a kilo of rice."
The BJP accused Chidambaram of not feeling the pain of the common man.
"It seems that Chidambaram has inappropriately made a scandalous remark against the middle class and is ridiculing them. The BJP would treat this remark as a complete hate statement reflecting the inner contradictions of the government itself," party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Chidambaram clarified his statement saying he had made a "matter-of-fact" statement that had been distorted by the media and had not taken a dig at the common man.
In a statement, Chidambaram said he was "shocked and disgusted by the deliberate distortion of the relevant question and answer at the media briefing in Bangalore on Tuesday".
BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said Chidambaram's remark was a joke on the common man and the government insulted the working class as they paid taxes and earned revenues.
Prasad also said that Chidambaram was blaming the media to cover up the mess as the whole country heard what he had said.
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also hit back at Chidambaram saying he was as the country's worst finance minister.
"He (Chidambaram) is the worst finance minister that this country has seen, because he enjoyed the fruits of the effort that we had put in," said Sinha, who held the finance ministry portfolio during the NDA regime.
"He completely wasted the golden opportunity that he had when he presented the budget of 2008-2009 and allowed the deficit to rise from 2.5 percent to over 6.7 percent. He is really guilty of wasting the opportunities that India had four years ago," he added.
Sinha further said the BJP would be extremely disappointed if Chidambaram is once again given charge of the finance ministry.
"I think, though it is the prerogative of the prime minister to choose his ministers. but if Chidambaram goes back to the finance ministry, then I have no hesitation in saying that the BJP will be unhappy with that development, and it will be very difficult for Chidambaram to secure the cooperation of the BJP," he said.
"He reminded me of the French Queen Marie Antoinette, who said, "Eat cake if you don't have bread". Mr. Chidambaram is completely unaware of the travails of the middle class. That is why he is making such remarks," Sinha said.
"He (Chidambaram) had probably in mind the picture of middle class kids or some upper class kids going to malls in Delhi. He doesn't know the state of the middle class in the villages of India," he added.
"The middle class is generally a salary class, whether in the government sector, or in the private sector, or they are professional. They are the ones, who are the hardest hit as a result of this uncontrolled inflation," he said.
Cruiser motorcycles might not be very popular in India, but there is still a segment of buyers who prefer to buy these body style of bikes. While there is little option at the lower end of the segment, at high price brackets there are quite a few alternatives. Earlier this year, DSK Motowheels launched the Hyosung GV650 Aquila Pro, which offers quite a lot to the cruiser enthusiast. Priced at Rs. 5.46 lakhs (Mumbai), the GV650 is significant value.