A BJP MP has claimed that the opposition's talk of crisis in the nation's automobile industry is a conspiracy to defame the government. Virendra Singh Mast, a Lok Sabha MP from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, told parliament today that traffic jams on the roads of Indian cities and towns was an indication the auto sector is, in fact, thriving. The UP BJP leader made these claims while participating in a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the state of agriculture in the country.
"To defame the nation and government people are saying that the automobile sector has slowed down. If there is a decline in automobile sales then why are there traffic jams on the roads?" Virendra Singh Mast asked parliament.
Virendra Singh Mast's bizarre claim comes despite mounting industry data that confirms the Indian automobile industry has been in the throes of a slowdown for several months.
Earlier this week Maruti Suzuki India reported a decline of 3.3 per cent in sales for November (compared to the same period last year). Bajaj Auto has said sales of motorcycles in the country fell 13.87 per cent in October (compared to the same period last year). That same month industry body SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) released data that showed passenger vehicle sales fell 23.69 per cent the previous month.
In addition to his comments on the Indian auto industry, Virendra Singh Mast also offered to provide opposition MPs protesting skyrocketing onion prices with a truck full of the kitchen staple. He said he would offer the produce, from his constituency in UP, at Rs 25 per kilogram.
Rising onion prices, with rates threatening to climb as high as Rs 150 per kilogram in Kolkata, have been the cause of much commotion inside and outside parliament. On Tuesday the average selling price in the country was Rs 75 per kilogram; the high was Rs 140 per kilogram in Port Blair.
Union Minister Ashwini Choubey today said he had no knowledge of the crisis because he is a vegetarian.
To round off his remarks Virendra Singh Mast also declared that GDP was not a valid parameter to analyse growth in rural economy, invoking a line of thought expressed by party colleague Nishikant Dubey on Monday.
Days after the latest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) figures pointed at a deeper economic slowdown, Nishikant Dubey told parliament that in future "GDP will stop being relevant".
With input from ANI, PTI