Amid a row regarding sky-high onion prices in the country, Union Minister Ashwini Choubey on Thursday said he did not know the price of the vegetable as he is a "vegetarian".
The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare's comment came just a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's 'insensitive' onion remark in the Lok Sabha led to outrage on social media.
On being asked if he knew the current prices of onions, Choubey said, "I am a vegetarian. I have never tasted an onion. How will a person like me know about the situation (market prices) of onions?"
News agency ANI shared a video of the byte on Twitter.
#WATCH "I am a vegetarian. I have never tasted an onion. So, how will a person like me know about the situation (market prices) of onions," says Union Minister Ashwini Choubey pic.twitter.com/cubekfUrYW— ANI (@ANI) December 5, 2019
Choubey appears to have followed Sitharaman's lead who, in response to a question by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule, said, "I don't eat much of onion and garlic. I come from such a family which doesn't have much to do with onions."
The statement instantly drew the wrath of netizens, many of whom have been affected by the stiff prices of onions that recently escalated to as high as Rs 150 per kilo in places like Hyderabad. And now, Choubey's ignorance is their latest target.
Then you must step away from your respectable positions.— Atul #RMS supporter (@secular_arrow) December 5, 2019
That is immaterial whether you consume onion or any other thing. But being a Minister you are supposed to know. Hope @BJP4India asks its Ministers from blurting out such stupid comments.— KSV SUBRAMANIAN (@KSVSUBRAMANIAN) December 5, 2019
Basic IQ of the country is lost. Onion is basic commodity consumed even by the poorest person. A farmer or Labourer if not anything will have roti and onion to quench his hunger. These people r previleged ones who don't even know basic difference bet veg food or non veg food.— Nirav Khandhadia (@nirav_kh) December 5, 2019
First Nirmala Sitharaman says "i come from a family who dont eat onion-garlic much. So i dnt hv any idea." Now this another Union misinster says similar things. Is this a joke?!— Hetal Oza (@hetal007_oza) December 5, 2019
Many also wondered what it was that Choubey was trying to convey by "vegetarian" since an onion, by all definitions, is a vegetable itself and is heavily used in vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes.
Onion is a vegetarian stuff, it's not non-vegetarian, no biryani is complete without onion— Nad (@nadeemripples) December 5, 2019
Just to be clear, onion is still a vegetable.