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The primary directive communicated by Sonia Gandhi’s so called ‘National Advisory Council’ to the Manmohan Singh Government was a concept of distributive justice focused primarily on purchasing the votes of the poor and marginalised sections at the taxpayers’ cost. It was designed to create a mass of people critically dependent on these giveaways. These make work schemes delivered very little in economic terms. Now, once again, the Congress President is advising Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow a similar economic model, so that she can take credit for supposed benefits the poor will receive. This shows that she and her ultra-left ‘advisors’ have no clue as to what India has been doing over the past six years, particularly regarding the economy.

The unsolicited suggestions offered by her on Tuesday indicate an entirely superficial approach rooted in the outdated economic and political model that prevented India from achieving its potential, even when China and countries of South-East Asia forged ahead from a similar base. No wonder India’s grand old party is at its present pass.

One of the suggestions she has made involves banning government advertisements for a period of two years. At a time when the print media is struggling to adjust to changing technology, curtailing advertising revenue would be a mortal blow, not just wiping out newspapers, but also rendering jobless a very large number of media personnel. Newspapers are still needed, particularly in India, as a very large number of people are still dependent on them for authentic news and in-depth and well-researched articles. Even the electronic and digital media would be greatly disrupted, the brunt of which would be borne by the employees. Ironically, this comes from one who has vociferously accused the present government of curbing freedom of the press.

Is she admitting that the practice of publishing government advertisements during Congress rule was unnecessary and avoidable, just a means of influencing the newspapers? If she is really so concerned about misuse of government funds, she should voluntarily hand over the Rs 5000 crore worth of properties that have been illegally transferred under the Young Indian scam regarding which cases are ongoing. The Prime Minister is obviously not going to take such advice and shoot himself in the foot.

Is she also admitting that travels abroad by Prime Ministers and ministers during the Congress regime were unnecessary and wasteful expenditure, which could have been avoided? Such self-goals cannot be helpful to the prospects of a party already much diminished and kept alive, ironically enough, by the inflated importance given to it by the very media she has sought to undermine.