On February 6th, Rahul Gandhi tweeted a table with weird statistics (You may wonder what’s new!). Stating that “Cowardice runs deep in GOI”, he attached the following image.
It is natural for you to wonder why India’s budget speech would have a mention of China. However, by now we are used to such juvenile interpretations from the former and future President of the mighty Indian National Congress. There are other not-so-juvenile and baffling conclusions to be drawn from that table.
Here is a pdf link to the 2021 Budget speech. You can open it and search (Ctrl+F) for the word “Corporates”. A net total of 0 results turn up. Zero. The word “corporate” comes up 17 times though – 7 times as part of the word “incorporate”! Search for “Companies” – 15 results come up. Given Rahul Gandhi’s penchant for Ambani and Adani, you would think he is referring to them. The speech talks about Insurance companies, Power distribution companies, Companies Act, Public sector companies etc!
Is it Rahul Gandhi’s contention that India’s Budget speech should not talk about companies at all? Let’s leave the logical questions aside for a while. Don’t you feel sorry as to how the former and future President of the might Congress party does not have a team that can even get basic searches right in an electronic document?
His obsession with Prime Minister Modi is scary. Budgets presented during UPA time also had the “word” “Prime Minister” in the them. Budget speeches, even from the 1950s always referred to the Prime Minister. He/she is the captain of the ship, so why would the “word” Prime Minister not be used in the budget speech Rahul Gandhi?!
His reference to the absence of the word “defence” in the speech is further embarrassing. The annexure documents clearly mention the allocations to the defence sector. In another tweet on Feb 1st, immediately after the budget, he asked the Prime Minister “Why hasn’t he increased the Defence Budget for them?”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given an awesome reply highlighting the increases in the budget of the Defence ministry over the years. Defense minister Rajnath Singh had already tweeted about the “highest ever increase in capital outlay”.
The Budget document, available to all MPs, clearly shows the increase in defence allocations and spending (Page 47, “Allocations for Major Ministries/Departments” here). Why doesn’t the former and future President of the might Congress party read before writing such juvenile stuff? In addition, I cannot help but wonder how does he feel when he sees the increase in budget of pensions from 40,000 crores in 2013 to nearly 1 lakh crores in 2020?
Another tweet reads “Forget putting cash in the hands of people…”. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned about nearly 1.15 lakh crore rupees has been transferred to nearly 10 crore families of farmers in the country in the past 3 years! In her reply, she also mentions about how MNREGS will be spending nearly 1.1 lakh crore in this year alone. Lakhs of crores directly being transferred to people actually amounts to “putting cash in the hands of people” but how does this simple logic elude the former and future President of the mighty Congress party?
Let’s move away from his tweets and move on to this participation in the Budget debate. The build-up to his participation was unreal. “Rahul Gandhi to spearhead Congress’ attack during Budget debate in Lok Sabha”, we were told.
We were told so by Financial Express, Business World, NDTV (ofcourse!), Times Now etc. Now, you would assume that Rahul Gandhi will have notes ready from the Budget document. You would assume that Rahul Gandhi will hold the Budget document in his hands, sift through various sections and make specific points. Because that’s what 76 of the remaining MPs who spoke on the budget did.
Defying all expectations, Rahul Gandhi refused to speak about the Budget. He pointedly said that he is protesting the farm laws and therefore he will not speak about the Budget but speak about the farm laws. There was a nearly ~15-hour debate on the Farm laws just 2-3 days back in the Lok Sabha.
The Lok Sabha sat till midnight to debate the same. Rahul Gandhi was absent during this time. And because he thinks he is the King of the universe; he chose to speak about Farm laws during a debate on the Budget!
MPs vie for an opportunity to speak about the Budget and put forth their specific points. Instead of resorting to such a colossal waste of time, Rahul Gandhi should have given opportunity to any one of the other 50 MPs from his party to speak some sense instead of the juvenile blabber he did. How can the former and future President of the mighty Congress party end up wasting such precious legislative time of the Lok Sabha?
However, none of these are as disturbing as the fact that the leaders of Congress party took strong objection to Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman taking Rahul Gandhi’s name in his absence (56:22 to 56:56 here). This astonishing sense of princely entitlement is simply baffling.
It is common practice for ministers to take members names to clarify on points raised during debates, whether they are present in the house or not. What special privilege does the former and future President of the Congress party have, that his name should not be taken when he isn’t present in the house?
Rahul Gandhi’s impatience in sitting through the budget speech, intolerance towards hearing the opposing argument, and impairment to comprehend basic documents is now beyond embarrassing. One can understand Congress party placing some faith in him pre-2019. Why the mighty Congress party wants to stick with him is beyond any reasoning now.