Rahul, Congress to take left turn, to re-brand itself as 'pro-poor'

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After Rahul Gandhi's 'sabbatical' and strenuous brainstorming sessions, the grand old party of India, Congress, is in revival mood and is all set to rehash old party shibboleths to project itself as a pro-poor party.

Sources say that Rahul Gandhi is expected to spearhead a national mass-contact programme against NDA's land acquisition bill, and its 'anti-poor' policies, after his return.


The party is positioning itself to the big day when its vice-president Rahul Gandhi's will take over leadership from his mother as the party's next chief at the AICC session in early April.

There are believers in the party that if the party has to survive and get back on track, it needs to go back to its Congress slogan of "garibi hatao", which yielded great dividends in the 1971 elections for Indira Gandhi.

The congress party has traditionally supported socialist economic policies within the framework of a mixed economy. It has supported secular policies and pro-poor programmes to encourage equal rights for all citizens, including those in lower castes.

History confirms that the Congress has relished in elections whenever they have projected itself as pro-poor party.

Congress pro-poor initiatives:

Congress have doled out many sops in the past, and had electoral gains.

Loan waiver: If the political imperative driving the Rs 52,000 crore loan waiver before the 2009 election brought some stern reactions, it proved to be UPA-1's poll masterstroke.

National Rural Employment Gurantee Act(NREGA): Launched in the year 2006, The "largest social welfare scheme of its kind in the world" has reportedly benefited a major chunk of rural household in India.

Food Security: The bill was very widely viewed as a "pet project" of Party President, Sonia Gandhi. Although it didn't make much headway, it is to be noted that there has been a three-fold increase in food subsidy during the UPA tenure.

BJP 'anti-poor':

According to Census 2011, there are 118.9 million 'cultivators' across the country or 24.6% of the total workforce of over 481 million, making them the second-largest group in the workforce in absolute numbers.

Congress is hoping to capitalize on Modi government's 'anti-poor' and pro-corporate image after land acquisition law controversy, reduction in the number of eligible beneficiaries of the Food Security Act and his scathing remark on MNREGA.

Rahul Gandhi had recently quoted saying that NDA is diluting pro-poor laws allowing industrialists to grab land belonging to the poor. "BJP is interested in building roads, railway lines and power projects, but wants only the rich to use it." Rahul said.

He assured that the Congress party is for all poor and that law to benefit farmers who would get right price for their land.

The demolition of nearly 500 dwellings in a south Delhi slum had added more damage to BJP's image and had a telling effect on Delhi election, where AAP called BJP-led central government and the local BJP leaders of being anti-poor.

Assembly elections:

The party's great fall started in the Lok Sabha elections and decimated in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Delhi.

The Congress party is optimistic that the new brand of left-leaning politics would regain its lost ground in assembly elections of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in 2016, and Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in 2017, before the biggest test in Lok Sabha elections-2019.

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