A central government minister, in his misguided attempt to defend a controversial suit Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India, has landed himself in fresh trouble.
Birender Singh Chaudhary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, bragged about his expensive watch and shoesand said if "farmers like him" could afford these luxuries, the Prime Minister surely could. Understandly, it has upset the farming community hit by a spate of suicides after recent cross loss.
According to media reports, Chaudhary was attempting to justify the suit the PM was wearing during President Barrack Obama's (you know, the one with his own name embroidered all over it) as a sign of progress.
"I wear a watch worth Rs 9 lakh and shoes worth Rs 45,000. Not only big industrialists, even farmers like me can wear (expensive clothes). What is wrong if Modiji wears a suit worth Rs 10 lakh," the Mail Today quoted him as saying.
The Khatkar Khap and Bangar Jagriti Manch, according to The Tribune, have announced a protest against him saying that the minister should declare the net worth of his assets.
"It’s a cruel joke on the distressed farmers of the country. At a time when farmers are committing suicides due to crop loss and debt, Singh, who claims to be a son of a farmer said that he wears such expensive watches and shoes," Krishan Khatkar, president of Khatkar Khap and Bangar Jagriti Manch told The Tribune.
"We have decided to start a protest against Chaudhary for fooling the people of the country by projecting himself as son of a farmer. Had he been what he claims he would not have used such costly things. Farmers are committing suicides in his home district and he is making such statements," added Khattar.
Driven to desperation over crop loss due to unseasonal hailstorm and rains, farmers have taken their own lives in several agrarian Indian states. As many as 601 farmers have killed themselves between January and March in Maharashtra — which amounts to almost seven farmer suicides a day, the Times of India reported.