Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday promised to provide Rs 72,000 a year to the poorest families and fill 22 lakh government vacancies if his party won the Lok Sabha battle and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of wrecking the economy.
Unveiling the Congress manifesto, the Congress President also challenged Modi, who he said was scared, to engage in a debate with him on issues such as corruption, foreign policy and national security.
"The five main themes of our manifesto (are) NYAY scheme... Garibi par waar, 72,000 (war on poverty with Rs 72,000 cash support), employment to youth by filling 22 lakh government vacancies and employment to 10 lakh youth in gram panchayats, guaranteeing jobs for 150 days under MGNREGA instead of 100 days, 6 per cent GDP will be used in education and no permission required for starting a new business(for three years)," he said after releasing the party manifesto here.
Today we released #CongressManifesto2019, through which resonates the voice of thousands of Indians we spoke to, as a part of our exhaustive consultative process.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 2, 2019
This manifesto lists our commitments to the people of India.
You can read it over here: https://t.co/R6EpqurmJi pic.twitter.com/E7cjBuj0MB
Gandhi promised to present a separate budget for the farmers on the lines of the now discarded railway budget and said if his party was voted to power, farmers who fail to return bank loans will no more face criminal but only civil cases.
Accusing the Prime Minister of wrecking the economy, Gandhi said that there was an "economic emergency" in the country.
Blaming demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for what he said was an economic mess, Gandhi said his party was determined to set right the situation.
To repeated questions, Gandhi said the narrative for the Lok Sabha election had already been set -- and it was all about economic issues and misery.
1. NYAY 72000 per year to every 1 in 5— Vaibhav Walia (@vbwalia) April 2, 2019
2. Separate Kisan Budget, karza mukti
3. 34 Lakh Jobs to the young people
4. Right to Health
5. 33% reservation for women
6. Right to Homestead
7. GST 2.0#CongressManifesto2019
Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Gandhi said that Modi made fun of the MGNREGA scheme dubbing it bogus and useless.
"Today everyone knows how much it helped the country. So now we want to guarantee jobs for 150 days, instead of 100 days, under the scheme."
Gandhi said the Congress government will allow anyone to start business without permits or clearances with tax holiday for the first three years to encourage entrepreneurship and create thousands of jobs across the country.
The Congress President said that he had told the members of the Manifesto Committee a year ago that it should not be drafted in closed rooms but should reflect the wishes of the people of India.
If amending AFSPA is anti-national, why did the government withdraw today the Act from three districts of Arunachal Pradesh?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 2, 2019
Why was AFSPA withdrawn totally from
Tripura in 2015 and remains withdrawn?
"I also said that whatever is going to be put in the manifesto has to be truthful. I do not want a single thing in the manifesto that is a lie because we have been hearing a large number of lies spoken every day by our Prime Minister," he said.
Responding on BJP's criticism that the NYAY scheme was "not workable", he said: "I agree it is not doable for the BJP. But it is doable for the Congress."
Asked why he was also being fielded by his party from Wayanad in Kerala apart from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said: "South India feels hostility from Narendra Modi... They feel they have not been included in decision making."
He said his candidature would send out a message that "we are with you, I am with you."
When a journalist queried about lack of alliances in some states, Gandhi said the Congress had teamed up with allies in Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir.
"We have alliances across the country. I don't know which newspapers you are reading."
Asked if the journalists were interacting with "a future Prime Minister", he retorted: "Ask the people this question."
Congress promises dangerous, unimplementable, says BJP
The BJP on Tuesday hit out at Congress over its poll promises over Jammu and Kashmir and amending the sedition law and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), saying these were "dangerous" and will break the country.
Addressing a press conference soon after Congress manifesto was released, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it out of ignorance, the Congress President (Rahul Gandhi) makes "unimplementable and dangerous promises".
"I am sure the nation would not be in a mood to oblige him for implementing the kind of promises which are contained in this manifesto," he said.
जिस देश में ग़रीब है वहाँ एक जीएसटी दर लगाना ग़रीबों पर अन्याय होगा l क्या कांग्रेस देश के ग़रीबों पर कर लगाना चाहती हैं l ऐसी सोंच को जनता कभी स्वीकार नहीं करेगी l pic.twitter.com/4hBNBuEpeN— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 2, 2019
The senior BJP leader claimed that some ideas in the manifesto are "positively dangerous" and agenda for 'balkanisation' of the country.
"Even though there was a drafting panel, it appears some of the points have been drafted by Congress President's 'tukde-tukde' friends when it deals with Jammu and Kashmir and national security. The Nehru-Gandhi family committed a historic mistake regarding Jammu and Kashmir and the nation can't forgive them for that. The Congress manifesto takes ahead that agenda dangerously.
"There mistakes have dragged Jammu and Kashmir to a situation where it is today. We are establishing rule of law, Congress wants to establish rules of terrorists and insurgents," he said.
Jaitley also slammed the Congress over the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits finding no place in the manifesto and said the biggest failure in independent India was the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits.
On Congress's promise of amending the sedition law and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, he said it was Congress's tradition that they withdrew laws like The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
कांग्रेस उन जवानो को जो देश के लिए अपनी जान न्योछावर करते है, उन्हें आरोपित कर दंड देना चाहती है l pic.twitter.com/JSKq53UhFY— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 2, 2019
"No nation over the last 72 years has dealt with terrorism like India. Our fight against terror didn't start after 9/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Punjab, North East, we have seen many struggles. We lost a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
"A provision that Nehru, Indira, Rajiv Gandhi and even Manmohan Singh didn't dare touch, they say sedition would be done away with, that treason won't be a crime anymore, such a party doesn't deserve a single vote," Jaitley said.
कांग्रेस के घोषणा पत्र में कश्मीरी पंडितों के लिए कोई जगह नहीं है l ये है इनकी धर्म निरपेक्षता l pic.twitter.com/Urc2FVUnZR— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 2, 2019
He said the AFSPA was essentially a sanctioning law for disturbed or insurgency-hit areas and deals with internal subversion.
"Those who laid lives for the nation, you want them to be prosecuted at the behest of relatives of terrorists, or their friends. Ingratitude is the biggest sin a party can commit," he said.
नेहरु गांधी परिवार की ऐतिहासिक भूल को आगे बढ़ाने तथा भारत को विभाजित करनेवाले कांग्रेस के घोषणापत्र का भारत के लोग कभी समर्थन नहीं करेंगे l pic.twitter.com/ahxE1d27lG— Chowkidar Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 2, 2019
Earlier on Tuesday, the Congress released it's manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, stressing that dialogue was the only way to understand the aspirations of the people of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir to find an honourable solution to their issues.
It also promised to review the AFSPA and sedition law among others.