New Delhi: Tearing into the BJP’s election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress on Monday dubbed it a “jhansa patra” (document of deceit) and said important issues like jobs, GST, black money and demonetisation are missing from the whole announcement exercise.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party President Amit Shah, and ministers Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj — did not speak even a single word on those issues.
He said the BJP should start packing as people would reject its false promises and throw the party out of power, and that the party should have issued a “maafinama” (apology letter) instead of a “jhansa patra”.
Questioning the BJP-led government on its earlier promises made in the manifesto for the 2014 elections, the Congress also released a list of 125 questions on “broken promises”.
“Today, 125 crore people of the country are demanding answers from Modiji on 125 promises made before coming to power. People will not accept your ‘jhansa patra’ anymore. It is now time to pack your bags and leave,” he said at a press conference here.
“You promised two crore jobs every year, which translates to 10 crore jobs in five years. In reality, during these five years, number of jobs have actually got reduced by 4.7 crore. And it’s not something that I am saying, but what has been said by the government’s own NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) data,” he added.
The Congress leader added that while the BJP had promised to bring back Rs 80 lakh crore in black money and deposit Rs 15 lakh in each Indian’s bank account, “in reality, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya looted Rs 1 lakh crore of the taxpayer’s money and fled the country right under Modi’s nose”.
He also questioned how the BJP intended to double farmers’ income considering that at the current rate of agricultural growth of 2.9 per cent, it would take 28 years.
“Modi also promised to turn India into an economic power. But in the last five years, he has buried the country under debt,” Surjewala said, adding that the BJP-ruled government borrowed over Rs 27 lakh crore between 2014 and 2018.
“Every month, Modiji is adding Rs 45,000 crore debt to the country,” he said.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said while the Congress manifesto had a picture of people on its cover page, the BJP document had only Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture which reflected the difference in priorities of the two parties.
Calling it a case of “lies versus justice”, he said while the BJP’s manifesto was only “lies and lies”, the Congress had promised to do “nyay” (justice) to the poor.
Surjewala also hit out at the BJP leaders for not taking any questions after releasing the manifesto.
“Congress President Rahul Gandhi answered over half a dozen questions of reporters whereas the Prime Minister and BJP leaders answered none. Nor did anyone have the courage to ask them any questions,” he said.
“No answers on their 5 years? It is this arrogance which will bring them down on May 23,” Patel later tweeted.
Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda said he was hurt by some omissions in the manifesto like no concern for agricultural labour by the party that kept talking about “kisan” (farmer).
The BJP earlier released its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Shah.
Among other things, the manifesto pledged zero tolerance towards terrorism, promised pension for small and marginal farmers and 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies through a constitutional amendment.