After the “ripped jeans” faux pas, Uttarakhand’s new chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Sunday courted another controversy by saying “the US enslaved India for 200 years” and questioned people’s complaints about getting less subsidised ration during the pandemic, saying they should have had more children if they wanted better supplies.
Rawat made these comments during a function in Ramnagar on Sunday in connection with the International Day of Forests. Rawat said at one time “we were ‘ghulam’ (slaves) of the US for 200 years, it (US) was ruling over the world, it was said the sun would never set for it, but now, in the present time, all that has gone…” He said the US was now struggling to control the pandemic. Rawat said the government gave 5kg rice per head to every household. “Those families who had 10 members got 50 kgs, those who had 20 members got one quintal, those who had two members got 10 kgs. People made stores, found buyers… such good rice came, they hadn’t taken it in their normal life… that too during ‘aapdha’ (disaster) time. But even after this, people were jealous of each other, that one got 10 kgs and another got one quintal… who is at fault in all this? He bore 20 children and you two children… why jealous? When there was time, you bore only two children, why not 20?”
Last Tuesday, Rawat said at an event on containing substance abuse that “showing bare knees by wearing ripped jeans just to look like rich kids is the value given now which is just a race towards westernisation when the western world today is following us. Ripped jeans pave the way for societal breakdown”.
State Congress spokesperson Garima Dasauni said, “Don’t know what has happened to the CM. Is it lack of wisdom or lack of education or is he doing it deliberately?….” He accused CM Rawat of insulting people for their poverty citing his statement on giving good quality rice in ration kits during the lockdown. “He said the government gave rice which people could never have afforded, which only insults the poor. Being the CM of the state, he should carefully look after his language…”
The BJP, however, accused the Congress of “only seeing the negativity”. Devendra Bhasin, BJP state vice-president, said, “The CM spoke about employment schemes for the youth in Corbett Tiger Reserve but the Congress could see only the negative part because they have become devoid of issues. The CM is doing commendable work for the development of the state.”