Better to sell pakoda than staying unemployed, Shah in maiden RS speech
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah in his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha on Monday said that selling pakodas (fritters) is not shameful but comparing it with begging was.
Speaking on unemployment during his speech on Motion of Thanks on President's address, Shah said that selling pakodas was better than being unemployed.
"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 became the Prime Minister of this country," he added amid opposition's hooting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a television interview just ahead of the Budget session had said that people earning Rs 200 a day selling pakoras can be considered employed.
Modi's claim drew widespread flak from the opposition with leaders calling it a "cruel joke" and as good as begging.
Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister Chidambaram had 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."
Shah also blamed the "55 years 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.