A row broke out over a claim in a media report relating to the remark by a Chhattisgarh farm woman during a video interaction with Narendra Modi on how her agriculture income had doubled, prompting union ministers to allege that a section of the media had "an agenda of deriding" the prime minister.
Chandramani Kaushik on Monday stuck to her remark that her income had doubled after she shifted from paddy cultivation to 'sitafal' (custard apple) farming and denied she had been tutored to say so for the video interaction with the prime minister last month.
The comments by Kaushik came by way of her clarification after the media report claimed that she had been tutored by officials to claim doubling of her income during that interface.
During the interaction with Modi last month, Kaushik, who hails from Kanker district, had said that paddy farming on a piece of two-acre land had not benefitted her much as she could earn just about Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 which was not enough for the family.
She told the prime minister that she, along with 10-15 other women in her village, then got together to do the farming of 'sitafal', which is known as 'shareefa' in Delhi.
"We started working on that project. It used to yield Rs 50-60 per 25 kg. We then got associated with 'Krishi ATMA (Agriculture Technology Management Agency)' yojana and from Rs 50, our income jumped to a profit of Rs 700," Kaushik said.
The prime minister then asked her how much growth her income had registered.
"It has doubled, sir," she responded.
A TV channel later claimed that she had been tutored by the government to say so.
In the wake of this report, the woman issued the clarification.
"They (the TV channel) are saying that I was referring to paddy, but I had said that my income had doubled because of 'sitafal' farming.
"I told the prime minister that earlier I used to earn Rs 50 from 'sitafal' (produce) but after receiving training, extraction of pulp (from sugar apple) has led to doubling of my income. I spoke about pulp only," Chandramani emphasised.
Following the clarification, Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore expressed unhappiness over the media report for claiming that the woman had been tutored.
"Some media houses have unapologetically aligned themselves to the agenda of deriding PM @narendramodi's efforts by all means. Despicable! The real story of Chhattisgarh's farmer women who rubbished the claims of a section of media #UnfortunateJournalism," he tweeted and posted the video link.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also took to twitter to voice his unhappiness over the media report.
"It is unfortunate that certain sections of the Fourth Estate who were always prejudiced towards the noble intentions of the PM in particular have now started resorting to distortion and misinterpretation of people," he said.
"The story of the woman farmer in Chhattisgarh is just an extension to this malice manufacturing machine. #UnfortunateJournalism," he said.
"In their enthusiasm to witch hunt the Honble Prime Minister and sensationalize any drippings of news that casts his initiatives in bad light, some media houses with a vitriolic attitude have been manufacturing untrue and unverified news," he added in one of his series of tweets.
Several ministers and BJP leaders also tweeted their disappointment over the media report after the clarification by the woman.
Earlier, Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, "It was known to everyone that the PM says only his 'Mann ki Baat' (heart talk). Now we have come to know that he even wants to listen to his 'Mann ki Baat' only.