Lucknow : Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has come in for sharp criticism for saying that poverty is a “state of mind”.

Gandhi made these remarks while speaking at a discourse on ‘Culture, Deepening Democracy and Most Marginalised Communities’, organized by a social scientist. “Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty,” Gandhi was quoted as saying by the organisers.

Going further, Gandhi cited the example of a poor woman in Amethi who took control of her life, both financially and socially, by getting associated with a self-help group, Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojan.

Political leaders said the statement showed the extent to which the Gandhi scion was cut off from the ground reality. Said Bahujan Samaj Party leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui, “He comes from a billionaire family and many generations in the Gandhi Nehru family have not seen poverty even from a distance. So they cannot be blamed for their poor knowledge,” he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party Uttar Pradesh spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said Gandhi’s statement smacked of arrogance.  “This is not only sad but also makes a mockery of the poor,” Pathak told IANS. Twitter latched onto the comment in no time. One Tweet said, “If Poverty is a state of mind, admit all poor people in India to mental hospitals, they will be cured and can be rich!”

Another added, “Now Rahul Gandhi says poverty is a state of mind. I wish he was born in a poor family!”

Attacking the comment, Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Badal described the Gandhi family as the fountainhead of all scams and said the country was still facing poverty because of corrupt practices followed by the Congress since Independence.

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