Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says she doesn’t eat onions, so no worries about #OnionPrices
Propaganda as we know has its own wings and travels at the speed of light. While propaganda of several political wings has become a common phenomenon across the globe, hidden and vicious propaganda by media houses is not new. The reason why this propaganda is vicious lies somewhere between the reach of these outlets and our faith in them. The latest victim of this hidden propaganda is none other than the Finance Minister of India. It’s not the first time, she has become a victim of misreporting by Media before but in one of our fact checks below, you can see how Money Control misreported her statement. Money Control took a portion of her statement and falsely reported her apologizing for flaws in GST.
MoneyControl ने वित्त मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण द्वारा जीएसटी पर की गई टिप्पणी को भ्रामक रूप में किया पेश
FM Nirmala Sitharaman apologises for flaws in #GST, says “I’m sorry it did not meet with your satisfaction” during an interaction with businessmen and #CharteredAccountants in Pune: ANI हिंदी अनुवाद: MoneyControl ने ANI के हवाले से खबर देते हुए लिखा है कि वित्त मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण ने जीएसटी में खामियों
As we all know, onion prices have been skyrocketing, causing deep financial trouble to the masses. Politics around onion prices has led many a good governments to collapse. And the same was being discussed in Parliament. Media outlets and journalists shared a claim that FM doesn’t eat onions and this is why she doesn’t care about the hike in onion prices, sharing a snippet of her address in Parliament. Many social media users, including Media outlet NDTV, the Digital editor of BBC Milind Khandekar, Political Analyst Gaurav Pandhi, all took a jibe at the Finance Minister for making this statement in Lok Sabha. In fact, “#SayItLikeNirmalaTai” is trending on Twitter after the misleading video went viral.
— NDTV (@ndtv) December 5, 2019
प्याज़ पर वित्त मंत्री जी
“मैं इतना लहसन,प्याज़ नहीं खाती हूँ जी So Don’t worry मैं ऐसे परिवार से आती हूँ जहाँ onion प्याज़ मतलब नहीं रखते “
— Milind Khandekar (@milindkhandekar) December 4, 2019
The Onion prices across the country is skyrocketing, basic meals of the poor & the middle class is affected and Finance Minister’s response: “I don’t eat onions, so it doesn’t matter to me”
Anti-people and insensitive Govt! pic.twitter.com/cGnffB4s9u
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) December 4, 2019
Amid questions raised on the prices of onion, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said – I do not eat onion, so it does not mean much to me. I come from a family where garlic onion does not mean much.
What arrogance. Brahminical arrogance. https://t.co/zJQfARj4ZU
— Shri (@shrishrishrii) December 4, 2019
What exactly happened?
Seeing the intensity of the claim, we started searching the Internet in order to understand the context. We performed a simple Google Search and found a video on YouTube posted by The Quint. After watching the full video, we found the aforesaid statement of Nirmala Sitharaman at 46 minutes and 14 seconds.
Here’s what happened in Lok Sabha yesterday which sparked a controversy on Social Media. Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman was answering NCP’s Supriya Sule’s question on Production and Price of onions in Lok Sabha yesterday. While answering Sule’s question, FM was interrupted by a member of the lower house. The member intervened saying, “Aap Egyption onion khate hain?” Nirmala Sitharaman then humorously replied, “Main itna Lehsoon Pyaj nahi khati hoon ji, So don’t worry. Main aise pariwar se aati hoon jahan Onion-Pyaj ka matlab nahi rakhte hain.”
As it is evidently clear from the video above that Nirmala Sitharaman didn’t make the claimed statement in the context of rising onion prices but while hitting back to a jibe made by a Member of Parliament.
Though The Quint has posted a full video, we further went on to verify the video posted by The Quint. In our attempt to find the authenticity of the video posted by The Quint, we found one such video shared by ANI on microblogging site which backs the authenticity of the aforementioned video.
#WATCH: FM Sitharaman says “Main itna lehsun, pyaaz nahi khati hoon ji. Main aise pariwar se aati hoon jaha onion, pyaaz se matlab nahi rakhte” when an MP intervenes&asks her ‘Aap pyaaz khaate hain?’ while she was answering NCP’s Supriya Sule’s ques on production&price of onions. pic.twitter.com/i6OG7GN775
— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2019
Now, as we checked the official Twitter handle of Nirmala Sitharaman’s office, we found the full video. The transcript of the said claim is as follows:
Here is the full video of Smt @nsitharaman explaining in detail the steps taken by the govt. to control onion prices and provide relief to the common man. A part of this video clip is being quoted out of context and is misleading. pic.twitter.com/56MLd1gKpU
— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) December 5, 2019
Supriya Sule: I appreciate everything that you are saying, but a lot has been said about the Mudra loans, so my question to you, very humbly put is, that according to the data that is accessible to us, for about 53%, Mudra was started by you, 53% of the loans are in MPA which is 4 lakh crore, (interruption).. mahila saksham hai, she doesn’t need to be defended, and on more small question since you talked about onion, I just have a small query, I appreciate that you managed getting onions from Egypt, I come from Maharashtra which is the largest pool collector of onions, A) why have the production gone down?, B) Bharti Pawar, she is sitting right here, she represents Nasik, so she will agree with me, this is not a political I’m making at all, but the onion prices, when they were rock bottom, is the time of duration you gave, is that the reason that they did not get the right (inaudible) as the MSP was not good. Hence the production has gone down. I take great pride in being an Indian, and proud to be an Indian which feeds every Indian’s mouth, so why has the production gone down. I am not happy eating Egyptian onions, why should India do it, and we export rice, we export milk, so many products, we are the second largest rice producer in the world, and wheat, why are we doing this, Isn’t it a regressive step? if you could kindly clarify, about the Mudra loan which is NPA and the onions, because the onion grower is the small farmer, the onion farmer is not the 20 and 30 acre one, he’s the small farmer with less water, so he really needs to be protected is my request.
Nirmala Sitharam: I agree, infact…. (Intervened by a member)
Parliament Member: Aap Egyptian onion khaate hain? (Do you eat Egyption onion?)
Nirmala Sitharaman: Main itna Lehsoon Pyaj nahi khati hoon ji, So don’t worry. Main aise pariwar se aati hoon jahan Onion-Pyaj ka matlab nahi rakhte hain. (I don’t eat much Onion and Garlic, so don’t worry. I belong to a family which doesn’t use Onion much.)
The said statement by FM Nirmala Sitharaman is taken out of context
Now since the transcript of the video suggests that Nirmala Sitharaman didn’t make the said statement in the context of rising onion prices. The video posted by Digital editor of BBC Milind Khandekar, Pro Congress Political Analyst Gaurav Pandhi, media outlets NewsX and NDTV and several other social media users is ‘Misleading’.
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Result: Misplaced Context
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