This is not the first time Alphons made a controversial statement since he was made minister after Narendra Modi's latest cabinet reshuffle. This time over a steep rise in petrol prices. Somebody who has a vehicle, bike; certainly he is not starving. Following a reception at the BJP state committee office here, the newly-inducted minister said that those who use petrol are not starving, and can afford to pay more.
Calling it an atrocious statement, Congress leader and former petroleum minister Veerappa Moily said: "The bureaucrats who come in to politics have no understanding of people's problems", adding that several ministers in the Modi government were like this.
This claim of Alphons seems like a stretch, as a Firstpost article shows the higher price is perhaps related more to changing worldwide crude oil rates and varying central and state taxes on petroleum products than to welfare schemes for the poor. "We are here for welfare of the downtrodden, ensure electricity in every village, make houses, build toilets".
"You don't need an IAS to know that fuel price hike doesn't only affect people with vehicles". Petrol is now priced at the highest rate in three years with the rates being revised daily. Petrol price in Delhi on Tuesday was at Rs. 70.38 per litre, whereas in Mumbai a litre of petrol costs Rs. 79.48. Earlier he had also said foreign tourists should eat beef at their countries before coming to India. Incidentally, Alphons contradicted himself while making this statement as only days earlier, he had said, "The BJP does not mandate that beef can not be eaten". He was speaking at a convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators in Bhubaneswar.