“In politics, Stupidity is not a handicap.”- Napoleon Bonaparte
Congress has today released its Manifesto for 2019 Elections. It was launched by Rahul Gandhi, the dynast president of the family-run political party. Perhaps, it helps not understanding the words one speaks. Then one is not worried about the truth or falsehood they carry.
Rahul Gandhi made a huge noise about his Rs 72,000 per year for poor, and also lamented how everything has gone bad under the Narendra Modi government.
Rahul Gandhi also lamented how the Indian economy is stagnated under the Modi government on account of demonetization and GST and the economy has stopped growing. The explanation of funds for NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) has been left to P. Chidambaram, who in all probability is the writer of this Manifesto. Chidambaram explains the fiscal logic of NYAY as
“With growing GDP and improving tax collection, it would be possible to implement the scheme now. The size of the Indian economy is 200 Lakh Crores and is likely to grow at 12% per annum. Revenues are growing at 18 percent per annum.”
Above is what is said by the author of NYAY scheme and see how it contrasts with what Rahul Gandhi said. So, demonetisation and GST which has ensured higher tax collection and income will be the foundation on which Rahul Gandhi’s populist scheme is based. That is Rahul Gandhi for you, never burdened by the heavy weight of the truth. The money too he says will be directly transferred to the accounts of the poor. He forgets that it was Modi who brought the marginalized section in India into the banking segment. Rahul refers to Modi but only to mock him about the loans given to industrialists (given actually by UPA government).
Rahul Gandhi makes another point about Jobs. Media has somehow decided to interpret and present it to the people as a proposition of 22 lakh jobs per year. A closer look at the Congress Manifesto tells us that there is no per-year assurance. This 22 lakh jobs offer is one time. The offer is based on existing government positions vacant. Congress manifesto refers to 24 lakh jobs, not 22 lakh Jobs as announced by Rahul Gandhi. But then, Rahul never had a thing for facts and numbers. The manifesto says when in power, Congress will ensure that 4 lakh central government vacant positions in CPSU, judiciary and parliament will be filled. The estimate of a remaining major chunk of 20 Lakh comes from the State governments, which they will request the state governments to fill up. It is pertinent to note here that Congress currently is in power in Six (5) States, and BJP in 16 states out of 29 States and Rahul Gandhi’s poll promise is largely based on his Government in the Center requesting and BJP governments in the states obliging. There is no structural design to the promise.
The key job segments here are Elementary and Secondary School teachers (10.1 Lakh), Police (5.4 Lakh), Railway (2.4 Lakh) and Anganwadi workers (2.2 Lakhs). Essentially, the Congress manifesto is largely silent on Job creation and is about filling job vacancies, dependent again on state governments. So the proposition carries the recipe for failure and excuse explaining the expected failure.
To be honest, there is one mention of job creation, which is one additional ASHA worker. There is no rationalization here, the only offer of one more job per village here. The document vaguely talks about the creation of industrial clusters. One pertinent question would be to ask – where? Without acquiring land? Congress does not explain, and media would not ask.
Then his proposes in-applicability of all the laws (except minimum wages and taxes) seemingly to once again pave the way for shell companies.
Rahul Gandhi promises to revitalize the growth in the industry segment, as the UPA did in 2004-2014 by reviving various stalled projects. However, since Rahul is always messing the numbers and media is always affectionate towards his half-truths and lies, let us look at the claim at the Utopian UPA rule (first-time voters will not know and will believe the rhetoric). In 2004 when UPA came to the power, Industrial production growth rate was 7.4%, and as the economist PM, in Rahul Gandhi’s words, ‘revived the industry’ , UPA handed the economy back to Narendra Modi at something between 0.9 to 0.35% in 2014. In the last year of UPA, 2013-14, Manufacturing segment contracted by 0.7%.
There is a growth in Healthcare budget proposed by Rahul Gandhi to 3%. A very noble thought, indeed. In the year, 2013-14, the architect of this manifesto, Chidambaram had reduced the Healthcare budget by 15%, making the %age allocation of 1.2% under UPA.
In contrast, Modi government increased the healthcare budget in the 2019 budget by around 16%. From around Twenty Four thousand Crores in UPA, healthcare Budget in 2019 is now INR 96 Thousand Crores. In 2019 interim budget, it is already 2.2 percent on the way to the target of 2.5% set already by Narendra Modi (though not with the eyes on the election). The catch is that the promise of 3% made by Rahul Gandhi is targeted not after (and if) he comes to power. It is to happen in 2023-24, before the next election.
On the Judiciary, the saviour of democratic and constitutional organizations, Shri Rahul Gandhi proposes to bring Judicial Complaint Commission. This would remind one to the time when Congress proposed impeachment of CJI on not getting favourable judgment in Justice Loya case. Congress also proposes a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of Judges. This commission proposed by the Congress will have judges, jurists and parliamentarians. This will in all likelihood help Congress get a judiciary similar to the one during Emergency.
There are people aghast at the apathy with which Hindu refugees escaping the totalitarian Islamic tyranny of Pakistan have been treated in successive Governments. Narendra Modi government brought in Citizenship amendment bill allowed for these minorities escaping atrocities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It takes a specially cruel heart for Rahul Gandhi to propose in the Manifesto to withdraw Citizenship Amendment Bill. We can vote for Congress and continue to read news headlines of little Hindu girls being kidnapped, married off and converted to Islam, listening to the silences of hypocrites like Malala.
Rahul Gandhi also proposes scraping defamation law (Article 499). This matter was brought to the note of Supreme Court in 2017 and the highest courts held that Right to reputation is an essential part of Right to Live and refused to scrap it. Now, looking at the absurd allegations Rahul Gandhi keeps on throwing, with varying amount of corruption charges changing at hilarious frequencies, it seems he wants to prevail over the judiciary and scrap this law. The court also held that the misuse of law does not mean that the law should be scrapped.
The same misuse of law is being used to stoke public emotions on Sedition law (Article 124A). A compliant media refuses to ask a question and check the honesty of intentions. Now Congress wants to scrap the sedition act. Much noise has been made about five urban naxals arrested with Arundhati Roy coming on to claim it was worse than Emergency. This is based on the assumption that the young Indians are not aware of Emergency when 75000 young men were arrested. Similar is the case of Congress standing with the forces which want India as a nation to be broken and wanting to scrap the sedition law. The same argument of misuse of law needs to be considered. When we look at the past, Congress commitment on both Sedition act and the claim of being inclusive to Southern India as an explanation of Rahul Gandhi becoming a fugitive of Amethi stands exposed.
We don’t even have to go back to Nehru and arrest of Mazrooh, or Indira and draconian Emergency when the whole opposition was arrested. We only look at the UPA era, when there has been much noise raised about 47 sedition cases across nine states in 2016. Aseem Trivedi was arrested in 2012 when this act came into limelight. Aseem had no history of violence and had not found inciting violence. His opposition was to Congress. In March 2014, 60 Kashmiri Students were charged with Sedition by SP Government under Akhilesh Yadav. A most interesting incident is from Tamil Nadu. Under UPA, between 2012 and 2013, during the protest against Nuclear deal, 23000 (yes, the number of zeroes is correct) were charged with waging war against the nation and, hold your breath, 9000 Indians from Tamil Nadu were charged with Sedition. It is just because they escaped the attention of Barkha Dutt, unlike Kanhaiyya Kumar that we do not even know them and no one questions Rahul Gandhi on that.
The whole manifesto seems to have been written by the people on the wrong side of law and living on bail. If you, like me, are exasperated at never-ending bails being given to Chidambaram and Son, you can expect more of such ridiculous bail, without midnight opening of Courts, as Rahul Gandhi in the manifesto proposes to
a. Free the under-trials.
b. Make bail a fundamental right.
So the much-cheered arrests of Kashmiri terror sympathizers can go out of the window once Congress comes to power.
Congress also assures repeal of AFSPA, exposing our soldiers defending disturbed areas to imminent dangers. This should be read together with Rahul Gandhi’s friend Omar Abdullah threatening to break Kashmir away from India. In entirety, this is the most anti-national and mischievous manifesto in recent times.
I have tried to analyse the Congress manifesto as much as I could, rest is for the nation to decide if it will fall for fake promises aimed at individual greed or rise above the low opinion the Congress prince seems to have of Indian masses, which makes him believe that we will drop the patriotism we carry on our shoulders to pick the crumbs he throws at us.
In the end, to quote my favourite quote by Abraham Lincoln,
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His recently published Hindi satire collection “Ganjhon Ki Goshthi” is on amazon and getting excellent reception and readership.