Telangana health minister Harish Rao on Saturday hit out at Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman over her demand of displaying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face at every fair price shop. Addressing a press conference in Tupran, the Telangana minister accused Sitharaman of “bringing down the prime minister’s level.” (Also Read | ‘Excuse me,’ Nirmala Sitharaman raps collector in Telangana; KTR ‘appalled’)
“I don’t understand why the union minister keeps degrading her level. When she is talking about PM photos not being there at ration shops, she is bringing down the prime minister’s level. This is not the first government in the country. Before this also, many governments have ruled, but never before anyone has come down to this level,” ANI quoted Harish Rao as saying.
A major row erupted on Saturday after Sitharaman visited the ration shops in Telangana’s Kamareddy where she publicly reprimanded a collector over the absence of the prime minister’s photo at ration shops. She alleged that whenever someone tries to keep PM Modi’s flex at fair price shops, either it is removed or torn down.
“You will, as the district administrator, ensure that the flexis are not be removed, that shall not be torn, that shall not be affected,” Sitharaman said. “If a banner is not there, I will come to this place again.”
Telangana BJP leaders shared the video saying the IAS officer did not know that the Centre provides ₹28 of the ₹35 Kg rice which beneficiaries get at ₹1 and the state government provides ₹6. The collector reportedly told the finance minister the state government’s share is ₹34.
“Not at all. You are an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, belonging to the Telangana cadre…You are telling me the state is giving ₹34? Excuse me! You want to think about your answer,” the finance minister told the collector.
Rao claimed that Telangana is among the top states that take care of the country financially.
“She is saying as if the central government is the only one giving free rice to the state. The centre hardly provides 50 to 55 pc of the funds, and the remaining 45 pc is borne by the state only and for that Telangana government spends ₹3,610 crore. Telangana is among the five/six states which take care of our country financially. We have spent extra ₹1,70,000 crore for the country. Then, why don’t you keep the photo of our Chief Minister KCR in other states as well?” said Harish Rao, as quoted by ANI.