Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Sunday blamed people for having fewer family members as compared to those who “reproduced 20” and got more government rations during the pandemic, reported The New Indian Express.

At an event on International Forests Day in Nainital district, Rawat said the government gave 5 kg of ration per person to every house. This means families with two members get 10 kg, while those with 20 received a quintal (100 kg). “But then they started to get jealous of each other that I got only 10 kgs for two and another person got a quintal for 20,” the chief minister claimed.

“Now brother, who is to blame for this?” Rawat asked. “He produced 20 [children] and you produced only two. So he gets a quintal of ration. When there was time you produced only two, why not 20? Now, why jealousy?”

The chief minister also claimed that the quality of rice was so good that people stocked it and sold it. “People started a “store” out of it and got themselves a buyer,” he said. “The rice was so good that no one has got such quality in even normal days, leave aside pandemic times.”

The Congress criticised Rawat for his remarks, reported The Indian Express. “When the country is facing the problem of population and governments are taking steps to control it, it seems CM Rawat is asking people to reproduce more kids to get more rations,” the party said. “His remark that people had not eaten rice of such good quality is also derogatory.”

At the event, Rawat also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But in his bid to compare the Covid-19 situation in the United States and India, the chief minister ended up confusing America with Britain.

“I don’t know what would have happened to India, had there been anybody but Narendra Modi as the leader,” Rawat said. “India is doing much better [in handling the pandemic] as compared to other countries. America, who ruled us for 200 years...it ruled the entire world, they used to say that the sun never sets. But the deaths [there] have gone past 50 lakhs and they are again headed for a lockdown.”

Last week, Rawat had courted controversy for claiming that women who wore ripped jeans set a bad example for children. Speaking at a workshop, Rawat had recounted a conversation with a woman who was travelling with two children on an airplane. “She was sitting next to me so I spoke to her,” Rawat said, “She was wearing gum boots and her jeans were torn at the knees. She runs an NGO, her jeans are torn at the knees, she moves around in the society and kids are with her. What values will she give [to the children]?”

“Kyanchi se sanskaar [culture by scissors] – showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids...these are the values being given now,” he had said. “Where is this coming from, if not at home?” His comment was strongly criticised on social media.