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Make-believe Manifesto

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It is a problem when one gets deceived by one’s own lies! The downright populist manifesto of the Congress that is full of giveaways designed to obtain the votes of (hopefully) gullible voters is a response to what the party believes helped the BJP come to power in 2014. The BJP had, indeed, promised ‘acche din’, but this was about meeting people’s aspirations for a better life and not merely filling their pockets from the public exchequer. Ever since Rahul Gandhi took over the campaign for the Congress, he has gone on about the BJP’s ‘broken promises’ to the point that he has begun to think this is what works in electoral politics!
While releasing his party’s election manifesto on Tuesday, he seemed to miss the irony of having beside him the very persons that presided over the corruption-ridden and ineffective UPA regime – Sonia Gandhi ran NAC, India’s version of an extra-constitutional “guardian’s council”; the helpless ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh; and the progenitor of flawed policies as Finance Minister and Home Minister, P Chidambaram. This alone is an indication that the Congress has not learned a single lesson in the past five years and intends to carry this baggage into the future.
What he promised was the absurdity of a guaranteed income of Rs 72,000 per year to 20 percent of India’s poor even though it has been pointed out that there exists no record of individual income levels in the nation’s data bank. This opens the doors to the kind of massive corruption already witnessed during the UPA years in schemes like MNREGA. In fact, MNREGA would be increased from a hundred to a hundred and fifty days! He has no idea of where the money would come from in a country where the states barely have enough funds to pay salaries to government employees. In fact, he plans to restore 22 lakh government jobs that the nation is functioning well enough without.
According to him, farmers will be able to default on debts without fear of consequences, and industries started without any kind of permission for the first three years – pollution and other regulations be damned! Expenditure on education would be increased no less than five times, and the very concept of medical insurance shown the door because the government hospitals would become paragons of service. The guarantee that this would be done is because he says so! Stand aside Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro – the real revolutionary hero has arrived! As will 80,000 % inflation.