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In his maiden Parliament speech, Amit Shah hits back at Congress over 'pakoda' jibe

Shah, in his speech, also blamed the "55-year-long" Congress rule for the widespread unemployment.

In his maiden Parliament speech, Amit Shah hits back at Congress over 'pakoda' jibe
Pic courtesy: IANS

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Monday hit back at former Finance Minister P Chidambaram over his 'pakoda' jibe. In his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha, Shah said that selling pakoda is not shameful, it is better than unemployment.

"Some people are saying things about selling pakodas. I also read P Chidambaram`s tweet. Yes, I agree that selling pakodas is better than being unemployed. 

"Making and selling pakodas is not shameful, but equating it with begging is certainly shameful," Shah said.

"Today if a person is earning livelihood by selling pakodas, tomorrow his son would become a big industrialist. A tea vendor`s son can become the Prime Minister of this country," he added.

Last week, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had come down heavily on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre over its tall claims on job creation and stated that the present dispensation is completely ''clueless'' on the issue. 

The former finance minister took to Twitter to express his resentment, saying that the nation has seen a three-year spell of "modest, but jobless growth" and that the government is "clueless about how to create jobs".

The veteran Congress leader was referring to PM Modi's interview on January 19 where he had said, ''If a person sells 'pakodas' and takes home Rs 200 every evening, is that not employment?"

In a firm rebuttal to the PM's contention, Chidambaram tweeted, ''Even selling pakodas is a 'job' said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let's count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as 'employed' people." 

Chidambaram's attack on the Narendra Modi government, however, evoked a sharp response from the ruling BJP, who said that he has once against insulted the poor.

In reaction to Chidambaram's comments, BJP had tweeted, ''The Congress has once again insulted every poor person, labourer, farmer, and worker by comparing people who earn an honest living with beggars."

Speaking on unemployment during his speech on Motion of Thanks to President's address, Shah also blamed the "55-year-long" Congress rule for the widespread unemployment.

"It was Congress government in the country for 55 years. We have been in power for only seven to eight years. This problem (unemployment) would not have become so humungous if effective steps were taken during those 55 years," Shah said.

The BJP President said that the Narendra Modi government had inherited a "big crater" and most of the government`s time and resources have gone into "filling that crater" that it inherited.

"It is pertinent to recall what were the circumstances in 2013. Even those guarding the borders of this country could not show their valour due to government`s indecisiveness. There was complete policy paralysis," he said.

(With agency inputs)