Election promises hold little credibility anywhere in the world, even less in India, and especially from the Congress. As the BJP lost no time in pointing out, after Rahul Gandhi announced his Nyay scheme, Indira Gandhi has promised to remove poverty, way back in 1971. And her grandson was promising the same thing now.

In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where paddy cultivation has been major drivers of prosperity over the last 15 years of BJP rule, Congress’ election promises ring doubly hollow. The party had promised farmers a minimum support price of Rs 2,500 per quintal, when prices were around Rs 1,800 per quintal. The Congress won, no procurement took place at the promised price, and farmers saw prices drop to Rs 1,500 per quintal.

At the same time, Modi had announced the PM Kisan scheme and instantly disbursed Rs 2,000/ as the first instalment. So this delivery of a realistic sum not merely offset the missing Rs 15 lakh of black money seized from Swiss banks and credited to every Indian, hopes of which Modi had raised in the 2014 elections, but also served as the metaphorical bird in hand to the flighty ones in Rahul Gandhi’s promises. Modi had also delivered toilets, cooking gas connections and built many homes for the poor.

In any case, the Nyay scheme targeted the five crore households at the bottom of the pyramid. It offered nothing to those immediately above this scheme. If the Congress had a vision of empowering growth out of poverty, rather than a handout every now and then, such a message did not come through.

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