This refers to the report, “Congress promises quotas, jobs” (March 27). The Congress is the Grand Old Party that has sent forth political leaders of great acumen. But the launch of its manifesto for the 2014 election, titled “Your Voice, Our Pledge,” shows that it has completely run out of ideas. The impending defeat of the party has been sensed by many of its leaders who are making it clear that they do want to contest. At this juncture, having a manifesto is only a ritualistic exercise and will not have any impact on any of us. One is reminded of the Tamil saying, Kan ketta piraku suriya namaskaaram (it is like saluting the sun god after loss of eyesight).
The manifesto is nothing but old wine in a new bottle. Many of the promises have been carried over from earlier manifestos in the hope that people will not notice this exercise in deception. With its fortunes about to hit rock-bottom, it would have been prudent for the party to promise only what is achievable. Promises that cannot be fulfilled by any stretch of the imagination must remain what they are — dreams.
San Jose, U.S.
The document lacks credibility. Having failed to fulfil any of its promises in the 2009 manifesto, the Congress will find it next to impossible to lure the voter this time. When the Planning Commission has itself projected less than 8 per cent GDP in the years ahead, how does the government plan to deliver on its promises? They can promise quotas and jobs on paper, but not in reality.
V. Siva Anantha Krishnan,
In 2009, the party had the impressive record of UPA-I to bank on; now it seems there is nothing for it to cling on to. Its having turned a blind eye to rampant corruption is what has done it in. The party promises zero tolerance towards corruption, yet one finds scam-tainted aspirants back in the race, and they continue to be arrogant (“Adarsh is stale news in Maharashtra,” and “Chavan: BJP has no moral right to talk about corruption,” both on May 27). The party’s oft-repeated statements on women’s rights will have no takers considering how it proved unable to remove the road blocks in the way of the passage of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament. Faced with surging inflation and a growth rate that is nose-diving, the Congress will now have to produce a magic formula in the limited time available to inspire the electorate. Unfortunately for the party, good schemes like MGNREGA and Aadhaar fell by the wayside due to its failure to do its homework. The ambitious food security Act came too late in the day.
No one expected the Congress to produce a magic formula to wipe every tear from every eye. But the common man is bitterly disappointed by Wednesday’s offering. In the absence of a credible plan of action, the tall promises do not evoke any confidence. Promises like the creation of 10 crore jobs and spending a trillion rupees on infrastructure appear to lack credibility in the absence of any concrete plan to raise the resources required. In short, it appears to be only a bundle of promises to garner the votes of gullible sections. The party should not forget that it comes with a heavy baggage of corruption, inflation and drift which are liable to sink its fortunes. It also faces an angry middle class.
The fact that the Congress has left out the common man says it all (“No ‘aam aadmi’ in document” March 27). Tall promises like the revival of manufacturing, 10 crore jobs, 8 per cent growth and the rest can only be realised when the country adopts an alternative economic policy. What India needs today is a credible, consistent and pro-people alternative with respect to policies. The media should also come forward and focus on the main issues by enabling a fruitful debate on the different manifestos.
Quotas for the poor without affecting existing caste reservation formulas is a mere publicity stunt. It shows that the party is clutching at straws and once again playing the caste card to win the election. It is time political parties stopped resorting to vote bank politics. Disadvantaged groups should be considered as humans first, and development policies for them should be made and executed at all times — not just on election eve.