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Rahul Gandhi's speech: Will 'Robin Hood's Economy' work for India?

By Shubham

Rahul Gandhi's second rally in Rajashthan within a week was just a repetition of the first. The same script, the same dreams, the same snatching away of land, the same poor looking at the rich in awe etc, etc.

Same attack against poverty

The Congress vice-president was perhaps trying to imitate what his predecessors used to do and that is sell dreams in black-and-white. Indira Gandhi spoke for eradicating poverty while Rajiv Gandhi wanted a country free of corruption and now Rahul Gandhi is speaking in favour of the aam aadmi. The subjects of choice are sensitive for the common man and hence politically viable but the a big concern is what worked in the 1970s and 1980s is unlikely to deliver today. Rahul Gandhi is perhaps a bit unlucky.

Development work will help poor fill their stomachs, not law and bills

The statements that rich fly while poor stare at them is an extremely oversimplified one today. The view that only building infrastructure doesn't help, one needs to have food in his stomach is a strange dissection of the reality from a leader who projects himself as a pro-poor one. Does that mean we continue to feed the poor sitting at their homes? Or only through development work that we empower them economically to live a better life?

Should we feed the poor or help them better their own lives?

Successive Congress leaders have stressed the need to eradicate poverty but none have succeeded to do it. If the poor's pain has indeed disturbed them, then why has there not been a single robust step to improve things? The poor, like the minority, has only ended up victims of political manipulation. Accusing the opposition as elitist looks very much out of place when leaders of the pro-poor party make statements that a meal is available for Rs 12 or Rs 5 but then desperately run for a food security bill.

Illness leads to poverty? What leads to illness?

Rahul Gandhi said poverty is caused by illness. On another occasion, he had reportedly told that poverty is a state of mind. Strangely, the Congress leadership speaks so much in favour of the poor but struggles to find the exact reason of poverty. Even if poverty is caused by illness, is that because of lack of proper nutrition? If it is so, then how will the poor manage a minimum of two meals in a day with food inflation rocketing high? Should we see them having an adequate diet to prevent them from falling ill or administer them free medicine after they fall ill? Why Rahul didn't speak about soaring food prices if he is concerned about the poor's diet?

Food bill-inflation-trouble for poor-more populism-inflation: Vicious cycle will go on

The Congress has pushed a food bill which is going to increase the inflation rate and as a result, the same poor will fail to manage adequate nutrition. The government will then feed them virtually freely and in the process, will impact the exchequer more. A vicious cycle will set in which the future governments will find very challenging to break.

Who is actually sacrificing dreams here? A Gandhi for India's development or India for the Gandhis' third UPA?

Rich, poor equations are not so easy to define

The class equation in India is not so simplistic. A farmer tilling land is not an eternal symbol of poor while those flying in the sky are not necessarily rich always. There is also the perennial religious angle. How many minority poor are getting the benefits despite the 'secular' talks and how many non-minority poor are gaining from the welfare schemes? The lack of homework to chalk out the target audience is very prominent with the Congress. May be the party has a historical burden of representing everybody at the same time.

It needed to come out of the stereotype thinking but the party is still so much confined within the limits of the national capital that it is bound to have a superficial view about how the real India works at the grassroots. The result: Too many bills and laws being imposed from the top to see the 'poor' happy but ultimately, none is feeling satisfied.

Even Amitabh Bachchan transformed himself from one who fought for the poor to one who speaks for development. His old ally, the Congress, couldn't.

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