New Delhi, Jan 29: India's favourite snack, pakoda (the crispy savoury primarily made of chickpea batter, onions and salt), has turned into the latest metaphor to attack the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre for failing to create jobs.
The whole pakoda story emerged after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent interview stated, "If a person selling pakodas (snacks) earns Rs 200 at the end of the day, will it be considered employment or not?"
Since then social media to opposition leaders, the Modi government has come under attack for its failure to create jobs. The debate over "pakoda" has literally become the favourite pastime for many during the Budget session 2018 of Parliament. The Budget session started on Monday.
As a part of the Budget session, the Union budget 2018 will be presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday (February 1). According to reports, the Centre is planning to give special emphasis on job creation in the upcoming budget after facing criticism for failing to do so.
In the last few days, social media is full of sarcastic tweets against the ruling BJP government under the hashtags-- #pakodanomics, #PakodaRojgar, #Pakoda and #Pakodafor2019.
On Sunday, former finance minister P Chidambaram joined the debate on pakoda or job creation.
"Even selling pakodas is a 'job' said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let's count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as 'employed' people," tweeted the former finance minister under the previous Manmohan Singh regime.
He also tweeted, "Another minister wanted MGNREGA workers to be counted as holding jobs. So they are 'job' holders for 100 days and jobless for 265 days."
One Twitter user has come up with an ingenious "pakoda" budget, kind of an alternative budget to be presented by Jaitley.
In India's IT hub Bengaluru, Congress workers had sold pakodas outside the BJP office to mark their protest against the PM's remark suggesting that selling pakodas is a job recently.
Hardik Patel, the leader of Patidar agitation, tweeted: "Berozgar yuvao ko pakode ka thela lagane ka sujav ek chaiwala hi de sakta hai. Arthshastri aise sujav nahi deta!!!(Only a tea seller can suggest to unemployed youth to sell snacks, an economist would not do that)."
Dalit rights activist and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani slammed Modi for his pakoda remark too.
"Narendra Modi Pakoda Stall, unique protest happening right now at Bangalore just outside BJP city office. Let us take it all over the country," tweeted Mevani.
A tweet by Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also criticised the Modi government for failing to create jobs.
And when questioned on growing joblessness in India, the PM might say isn't being a peon a job creation by his government.— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) January 29, 2018
Take a look at the applicants sir& then perhaps those who defend his pakoda reasoning will understand just what is wrong with that logic. pic.twitter.com/8PnfeUwrYM
However, others feel that critics of the Modi government are unnecessarily taking dig at the PM over his pakoda remark.
In hindsight, I think Modi used the pakoda-wala example quite deliberately, knowing very well that someone from the Congress would soon make a disparaging remark against pakoda-walas like they did once against chai-walas.— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) January 28, 2018
Sure enough, Chidambaram duly obliged. Fiendishly clever.
Today I will be travelling around to ask hardworking Indians especially Pakoda bhajjia wale their reactions on chor Chidambaram's comments calling them beggars. Request you to take a small interview and post videos in comments. 🙏— Ashu😎 (@muglikar_) January 28, 2018
The humble pakoda seller is no beggar! He makes an honest living which can’t be said of some politicians who’ve sold their souls repeatedly for a few shillings! These politicians are the scourge we need to get rid of. Termites who’ve eaten away at India.— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) January 28, 2018