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Aug 30, 2012 at 09:46pm IST

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi sparks controversy over malnutrition remark

New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has sparked off a new controversy, this time by his comment over malnourishment. In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, the leader said Gujarati women are malnourished as they are more beauty conscious than health conscious.

When asked why women in Gujarat suffered from malnutrition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader replied, "The middle class is more beauty-conscious than health-conscious. That is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they'll have a fight. She'll tell her mother, 'I won't drink milk. I'll get fat'."

At a time when Parliament is stalled over the alleged coal blocks allocation scam with the BJP and the Congress being locked in an intense duel, the statement immediately kicked off a political war of words.

"This is an insult to women of Gujarat. Tribal women suffer from anemia in the state, and the state government does nothing for them," said Arjun Modhwadia, Gujarat Congress chief.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni termed the statement of the Gujarat Chief Minister as sad.

She said, "It is a very sad comment. He doesn't deserve to contest the next elections."

Modi has always made tall claims about Gujarat's prosperity. He looks at himself as the CEO of the state. However, the issue of malnutrition amongst women is like an anomaly on Modi's CV.

"Under nutrition situation in Gujarat is quite alarming despite the economic progress that has been made," said Sheila Vir, Director, Public Health Nutrition and Development Centre.

Always on the front foot on any issue, this is one matter where the quick witted Modi too will have to do some deft management.

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