Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that he is "shocked and disgusted" by a newspaper report that states he mocked the middle class for complaining about rising prices. In a statement today, Mr Chidambaram described the report as "a deliberate distortion" of his comments.
The newspaper claimed that the minister said in Bangalore yesterday, "When the urban middle class can buy mineral water for Rs 15 and ice-cream for Rs 20, why do they make so much noise about price rise?"
The reported remark began trending on Twitter with topic Rs 15.
The minister, however, says that what he had said was, "We are prepared to pay fifteen rupees for a bottle of water but we will not bear one rupee increase in the price of a kilo of wheat or a kilo of rice. We are prepared to pay rupees twenty for an ice cream cone but won't pay one rupee more for a kilo of wheat or rice." The remarks were made as he explained that if farmers are paid more for sugar or paddy, consumers will have to pay more too.
His statement goes on to say, "The Home Minister made a matter-of-fact statement. He did not 'mock' or 'chide' any one."