Stakes are at an all-time high for the Congress party as it wades into the Lok Sabha elections for the first time under the leadership of party president Rahul Gandhi. While a win is sure to catapult Rahul among the top national leaders, another drubbing will force the grand old party to re-think its strategies under Rahul’s leadership.
Though Rahul has been credited with the Congress forming government in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan recently, the margin was very thin. The party is hopeful of a good show at the national level this time and therefore has designed its president’s poll campaign accordingly. Rahul has managed to draw crowds to his rallies and has promised to change the face of the country if given next five years in Delhi.
The party has announced that it will release its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday. Even before the release of manifesto, Rahul has outlined the party’s agenda during his election rallies and promised several freebies to the people.
The Congress’ manifesto committee is being headed by former Union minister P Chidambaram. He chaired the meeting of the committee recently to review the documents. According to reports, the committee was divided into 20 different sub groups which studied the prevailing condition of the country’s agriculture, economy and education, among others closely before submitting their suggestions on preparing the election document. The committee held around 55 meeting before finalising the document. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) had also met last week in Delhi to review the manifesto.
As Congress readies to release its manifesto, we take a look at 5 key promises made by Rahul Gandhi in his rallies which could figure in the party manifesto:
1. Minimum income scheme
Addressing the media in Delhi last month, Congress president Rahul Gandhi promised that if the party forms the next government, it will launch Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) under which Rs 72,000 cash support will be provided annually to families earning less than Rs 6,000 monthly. This, he said, will be final assault on poverty. The Congress leaders have been highlighting the scheme since then and have claimed that the BJP is nervous after Rahul Gandhi’s announcement. The party has said that amount will be deposited directly in the bank accounts of women.
2. Special status to Andhra Pradesh, Northeastern states
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has promised that he will initiate the process to accord special status tag to Andhra Pradesh and northeastern states if his party returns to power. He has accused the Modi government of not fulfilling the promises made to the people of Andhra in the run-up to the 2014 general election. Interestingly, of the seven NE states, six states have governmens either run by the BJP or backed by it .
3. NITI Aayog to be scrapped
Rahul Gandhi has also promised to scrap the NITI Aayog which was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, replacing Planning Commission. According to Rahul, NITI Aayog served no purpose other than marketing for PM Modi. The Planning Commission was set up in 1950 by then Congress government. Rahul has promised a leaner Planning Commission if Congress displaces Modi in the 2019 polls,
4. 22 lakh government jobs
In a tweet, Rahul said that 22 lakh government job vacancies will be filled up by March 31, 2020 if the grand old party gains majority in the Lok Sabha polls. Rahul has been criticising the Modi government over rising unemployment in the country and also its failure to create 2 crore jobs promised in 2014.
5. Farm loan waiver
In his election rallies, Rahul Gandhi has promised that the Congress would waive off farm loans if it forms the government at the Centre. Besides, he has also promised better minimum selling price (MSP) of farm produce to the farmers. Rahul has claimed that the Swaminathan Commission recommendations were not implemented by the Modi government in a true spirit. The promise of farm loan waivers has worked well for the party in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan last year.