News Brief

No, Nirmala Sitharaman Didn’t Insensitively Say Onion Price Rise Doesn’t Matter To Her; Here’s The True Story

Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman (Pic Via Facebook) 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has recently come under attack from her political opponents who accused her of being insensitive towards the onion price rise in the country.

The critics which included Congress supporters, shared a brief sixteen second clip of Sitharaman in which she can be heard saying that, ”I don’t eat a lot of onions. I come from such a family which does not care a lot for Onions”.

This was soon spun by Sitharaman’s detractors as her dismissing the onion price rise as it does not affect her personally.

One Congress supporter who recently crashed out of a reality TV show, announced a protest against this statement of hers and also began trending #SayItLikeNirmala to mock her.

Various media outlets too went ahead and reported the story, while adding that onion prices have risen above Rs 100 per kg in some parts of the country.

Media outlets reporting Sitharaman’s statement Media outlets reporting Sitharaman’s statement

While the online attack against the Finance Minister was in full flow, the other side of the story slowly began coming out.

During the parliament proceedings yesterday (5 December), Sitharaman in a detailed reply was informing the lower house about various steps her government has taken to tackle the onion shortfall in the country.

Here’s a clip of her laying out the price-fighting measures which includes procuring from storages, transporting onions to deficit markets and more.

In the answer she also informed that the government has imported onion from other countries like Egypt and Turkey. As seen in the clip she had to sustain continuous heckling from opposition MPs during the course of the action.

Following her statement, NCP leader Supriya Sule rose from her seat to question why should India eat “Egyptian onions” and demanded to know the reasons behind India’s production shortfall.

As Sitharaman rose to reply, one opposition MP shouted asking whether she (Sitharaman) herself has eaten “Egyptian onions”. Sitharaman, possibly miffed by the continuous attacks, then replied that she does not eat a lot of onions and recounted her family background.

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This last statement was then taken out of context by her opponents who then decided to claim that she is least bothered about the price rise due to her personal dietary beliefs.

While, as clarified by her office on Twitter, she had already given a detailed statement about her government’s efforts to tackle the price rise and also informed that the concerned ministry would follow up with more details.

She later also followed up by stating that she has been a member of various ministries since 2014 which have been involved in tackling the onion price rise.

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