BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain succeeded in embarrassing both himself and, by extension, his party during a discussion on the financial health of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak with this lack of understanding of accounting terms.

When the anchor pointed out that the CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) of Hindustan Aeronautics had said the company’s cash-in-hand was negative, Hussain responded by saying that cash in hand was unnecessary considering a cashless economy was being created.

In the process he revealed his innocence about the term, which refers to the amount of money a company has left after paying all its costs – and has nothing to do with transactions being in cash instead of digital, as Hussain appeared to think. He was speedily corrected by the anchor – who also said sardonically that this was a serious discussion – and by the Congress party’s Pawan Khera, who was part of the discussion.

There has been considerable controversy over HAL’s cash-strapped situation, with Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress president Rahul Gandhi trading accusations over misleading people.