The Congress’s minimum income guarantee scheme, Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), will remonetise the Indian economy by boosting demand and manufacturing, the party’s president Rahul Gandhi has said.Gandhi,48, said the Congress spent the last few months discussing ways to “restart the economy”. “The NYAY scheme will remonetise the Indian economy. The way petrol is provided to an engine, the NYAY scheme will jumpstart the entire economy. With this, the poor will get money, demand will increase, manufacturing will increase and the youth will get employment,” Gandhi said in an interview with Hindustan, a sister publication of the Hindustan Times.Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi could go to jail if allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal were investigated. “The documents that The Hindu newspaper has published clearly show that Narendra Modi bypassed the negotiation team and directly worked out the details with Dassault. He could go to jail on the basis of these documents alone,” Gandhi said.The Congress president said unemployment, the agrarian crisis, and corruption were the biggest election issues in 2019, adding that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had destroyed “purchasing power” and that one of the Congress’s first tasks if it wins the elections will be to “jumpstart the economy”.Gandhi also dismissed the age-old characterisation of caste-based vote banks, which has resulted in the election strategy of social engineering that many parties use, and said his party stands for everyone and has universal appeal. “I don’t agree. This is your view that these are vote banks. The Congress is the party of all and it helps everyone. Demonetisation and GST hit small businessmen, and these were opposed by the Congress. When the farmers are in trouble, the Congress is the first to come and stand by them. Wherever there is pain in India, it is the nature of the Congress to resolve it. This is the thinking that is the vote bank of the Congress. For us, every Hindustani is the mirror of the Congress ideology,” he said.Over the years, the Congress has become a fringe player in some states in the country, but Gandhi is confident that the party will do well in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, even Uttar Pradesh. “The success of our coalition in Tamil Nadu will wipe out everybody. I believe that the Congress will win all the seats there. The alliance in Bihar will also bring great results. In Uttar Pradesh, we are fighting separately but still the Congress will win seats. That’s why we have sent Priyanka ji (Priyanka Gandhi) and Scindia ji (Jyotiraditya Scindia) to UP.”Gandhi said that to fund the party’s big idea for the election, NYAY, a scheme that promises poor households Rs 72,000 a year, no taxes will be raised and the middle class won’t have to bear the brunt of funding this scheme. The Congress president repeated his allegation that PM Modi was doing things to benefit his “industrialist friends” and on corruption in the Rafale deal. The Congress has maintained that the new deal struck by the NDA government, which replaced tan old deal negotiated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), entails buying the fighter jets at a higher price. The government has denied this. The Supreme Court also said in a judgment that it doesn’t see the need for a court-monitored probe into the deal and that it is convinced due process was followed, but is now hearing a review petition on this.Commenting on one of the BJP’s core campaign planks, nationalism, Gandhi said those talking of nationalism don’t answer serious questions. “In the last five years, what has the Modi government done for the youth, farmers, the poor labourers? A Rafale plane worth Rs 526 crore will be bought for Rs 1,600 crore and it will not even be manufactured in the country. Can this behaviour be nationalistic?”
First Published:
Apr 21, 2019 06:03 IST