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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ice-cream eating middle class has no right to speak on rising prices - feels P Chidambaram

Nation is at crossroads, perhaps too many times, too often --  the Govt is treading very cautiously on the contentious issues related to spectrum pricing. So it has now appointed Home Minister P Chidambaram as the head for Empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) which will look into spectrum issues.  But, instead of letting this eGoM take the actual final decisions, the government has mandated that all decisions related to spectrum pricing will be further vetted by the cabinet. So Chidambaram  is the Man Friday who would make crucial recommendations on issues such as the reserve price for 2G auctions and whether existing telecom companies can be charged for spectrum they already hold at new rates – again another attempt at windmill with no empowerment – P Chidambaram, who has enjoyed many powerful posts would sure like to have more powers……….

Elsewhere is another community of Indians consisting of almost 40% of the Indian population, popularly called ‘Indian middle class’ – they are the commoners consisting of salary earners, small traders and others but none of whom Chidambaram would consider ‘equal mortals’ or even worthy mortals. These set of people would get up in the morning, have their breakfast early, start for work early and tend to all clerical and administrative work as ordained – work till late in the day, return to their dens – poor people, no time for recreation, or amassing wealth, hence no worry of how to hoard the ill-gotten riches.

The middle class mentality and eating styles have changed over the years – in cities, there are no longer the small time cafes – replaced by KFCs, Subways, Pizzahuts and other restaurants and no longer the small juice shops, replaced by bigger parlours.  Ice-cream, the frozen dessert made of dairy products, combined with fruits ladled with sugar and other sweeteners – sometimes artificial flavouring and colouring are seen everywhere – and people do relish.  

Suddenly it occurred to Mr Chidambaram Palaniappan, who has managed to remain in power despite getting away from Congress, floating a regional outfit, getting involved in many controversies, but all the time remaining in important Ministries and now from Home tipped to head the Finance, that these are ‘exotic products’ ought to eaten only by the elite and not by the common ordinary working class of middle class people.  Naturally, he commented that ‘these Middle class eat expensive ice cream, hence should not crib about price rise’

No matter that there would be inflation, consumer price index up, share markets tumble, prices of essentials spiral up, petrol prices keep going up, rupee would slide down to its worst – Govt would fail to deliver and rein in prices, control inflation, there would be economic mess, there would be anarchy, terrorist activities – the important portfolio holder – Home Minister who cannot control naxal menace and terrorism, would torment the hapless common man.  

As an Economic Expert, he knows Economics is all about production. Production must lead to consumption. Consumption must be below production to ensure sufficient savings. Savings must lead to investment and finally investment must ensure production. – and there has to be a controlling mechanism to check the excesses i.e., the Govt body, headed by people like Chidambaram.   Instead of correcting the imbalances by policy formulations, he is trying empty prattle….. when the oil prices internationally slump also, Indian foreign exchange reserves are getting depleted.  Some analysts wrote it as a dream team to have Dr Manmohan  as PM and Chidambaram as FM in 2004 and they had Montek Singh Aluhwalia as deputy chairman of the Planning Commission – now PC is stuck with 2G scam, Pranabda did his bid and is now rewarded as Presidential candidate – and years after the growth is not there and there only economic muddle.

The Union Home Minister PC unable to control the hike in prices of food commodities, comments about the ice-creaming habit of middle class and the Opposition parties have charged Mr. Chidambaram with being “heartless and insensitive” to the middle class, protesting his remarks that people paid for mineral water and ice cream but objected to a hike in rice and wheat prices.  The Janata Dal (United) said the truth had “accidentally” come out from the mouth of a “supporter” of market forces.  The Nationalist Congress Party, a UPA constituent, also took exception to the Minister’s remarks. “I wish the common man in India was as prosperous as Chidambaram. I did not expect this kind of a sarcastic remark from a cultured and educated man like Chidambaram,” said NCP spokesperson D.P. Tripathi. Bharatiya Janata Party chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was unfair on the part of the Home Minister to accuse the media of distorting his statement when the whole country saw and heard what he had said. The Home Minister’s comment was akin to rubbing salt into the wound of the common man, in whose name the Congress came to power, Mr. Prasad said.

The Q put now is ‘whether a parent taking their child to an eatery to have an icecream was a crime’.   The rise in Gold may not bring jitters to the man on street, nor would the rise in the prices of television, refrigerator and car. But when foodgrain prices rise, naturally people would get agitated. . It is the government’s job to help people to have their square meal.  Chidambaram says that food inflation is high because of higher procurement prices that has benefitted millions of farmers. Then why are the farmers dying out of dire poverty in Maharashtra and in many other places… 

Many still remember that Subramanian Swamy moved to Supreme Court of India, after months of request to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into Chidambaram's role in the 2G spectrum scam.  Swamy also alleged PC’s son’s role in Aircel and Chidambaram has been accused of hoarding black money abroad with several petitioners challenging  Chidambaram in the open media and in several noted columns to file a defamation case against them if the allegations were untrue. Chidambaram has not responded to this.  He  represented the bankrupt American energy giant Enron, as a senior lawyer in India, and is again set to revive its Dhabol power project.  He resigned on 10 July 1992 from the Minister position owning moral responsibility for investing in Fairgrowth, a company allegedly involved in securities scam.  Inside the State, his speeches for assembly elections in Tamil Nadu have been laced with anti-Hindi rhetoric and had questioned the number of Hindi speaking ministers in the NDA government – it was he who announced a controversial Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) which granted income-tax defaulters indefinite immunity from prosecution.  He was criticized widely for ordering a police lathi charge at midnight on the  protesters led by Baba Ramdev  at the Ramlila

And now comes his grunt against ice-cream eating, mineral water drinking middle class, who have no right to agitate spiralling food prices…….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. PC and his son with all the oozhal, have no moral right to talk on anything..... fie upon them - Manimaran

  2. Eating ice is no crime, Chidu, eating others blood is - that is what your group have been doing - Nanmaran