New Delhi: As the Opposition parties came down heavily on his comments about the big business done by three films to counter claims of an economic slowdown, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday withdrew his comments (made on Saturday) saying that they had been “twisted completely out of context”.
The Opposition charge was led by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who said that is was a matter of shame that as lakhs of people were losing their jobs and banks were sitting on their money, the minister was bothered only about the movies, adding that he must “face the reality”. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “This BJP govt lets no opportunity slip to mock at the misery of the people. First they create an economic crisis by mismanaging things, then instead of taking remedial measures, continue to be in denial.”
“Lakhs of workers have lost jobs in just the auto and textile sectors. Investment and savings levels are at an abysmal low, Unemployment is at its highest in five decades and even biscuit sales are down. No amount of denials, tamashas and fudging of data can hide this truth,” the CPI(M) leader tweeted.
While criticising an NSSO report on high unemployment and the IMF’s report of a slowdown in India, Mr Prasad had said three Bollywood movies generating business of Rs 120 crores on the October 2 holiday suggested a “sound economy”, even as he dubbed “wrong” the NSSO report which had reportedly pegged the unemployment rate at a 45-year high in 2017. He had alleged that some people were misleading people over the unemployment scenario.
Mr Prasad had claimed that one part of his statement had been “completely twisted out of context”, and said that “being a sensitive person, I withdraw this comment”.
On Sunday, he withdrew his comment and said: “My comments made yesterday in Mumbai about three films making Rs 120 crores in a single day — the highest ever — was a factually correct statement. I had stated this as I was in Mumbai, the film capital of India. We are very proud of our film industry which provided employment to lakhs of people and contributes significantly by way of taxes.
“I also explained in detail about the various measures the government had taken as pro-people moves to strengthen our economy. The government of Narendra Modi always cares for the sensitivity of the common people. The entire video of my media interaction is available on my social media. Yet I regret to note that one part of my statement has been completely twisted out of context. Being a sensitive person, I withdraw this comment,” he said.