Sun. May 26th, 2024

Meet the man dubbed ‘next Gandhi’ hoping to oust Narendra Modi in India’s election

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May24,2024

Daily Express announces trip to India to cover election

The I.N.D.I.Alliance is a concoction of 41 left-wing national and regional parties who have different goals, only some hold Lok Sabha (Lower House – equivalent to the House of Commons) and Raja Sabha (Upper House – equivalent to the House of Lords) seats and there are seven communist parties within the alliance.

The India National Congress (INC) is the leader of the alliance and India’s equivalent of the Labour Party, unsurprisingly in the first paragraph of what is essentially the INC manifesto they refer to past members of the Congress Party and heroes of India’s independence (1947), Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who wrote the Constitution.

Devised by the British, Jawaharhal Nehru of the INC and Muhammad Ali Jinnah of the All-India Muslim League, India’s Independence (1947) had a price, Partition, which is still referred to by some Indians as vivisection. This painful metaphor shows how deeply the wounds of dividing India into three nations have endured and the scars of dividing a nation by faith have become almost systemic within political parties.

The INC manifesto reads as a list of subsidies and gratuities to target the votes of Muslims, and the most vulnerable in India’s population the poor and the illiterate; Congress have always looked to divide India by targeting Muslims as their traditional vote bank. INC’s offering seems a canny effort to gather various minorities into a group that could outnumber a low turnout of the majority.

There is no projected candidate for Prime Minister, typically it is expected to be Rahul Gandhi, grandson of Indira and son of Rajiv, both former Prime Ministers. The forward is by Rahul Gandhi and the photographs depict Gandhi with Mallikarjun Kharge, President of the INC party; Karge is unlikely to become PM, he is reputed to be the loyalist servant of Sonia Gandhi, former INC president and mother of Rahul.

The 2024 opening remarks refer to the INC warnings given in their 2019 manifesto, which deride the government and governance of the BJP, they claim that a series of losses (jobs, economic rights, confidence and security) they predicted in 2019 have come true.

They claim the economy is in crisis while the standard of living has fallen, (conversely, statistics show that India’s middle class has grown to 31% of the population and is projected to double by 2046). They assert that in India Democracy has been hollowed out and is sliding to become a one-party and one-person dictatorship.

This mirrors the damning rhetoric that Gandhi has been trolling around institutions in the UK and US during 2023, and without fact-checking the left-wing press in Western countries delights in spreading. Institutional predictions based on ten years of Modi show the opposite, the World Economic Forum believe that India will be the third largest economy in the next five years, and Goldman Sachs forecast that India will become the world’s second-largest economy by 2075, according to the FT’s Chris Giles India will soon rival China in its contribution to global growth, and the Harvard Business Review quotes Matin Wolf predicting India’s future purchasing power will be 30% larger than the USA’s.

INC has always prided itself on social justice and herein it has claimed that 70% of India’s minorities population is under-represented in high-ranking professions, services and businesses, (despite the current PM and the President being from humble origins). There is unintentional irony in a remark about discrimination against ancestry and “and the consequent denial of equal opportunity”, there is little doubt that Gandhi is there because of his ancestry.

The Congress want to conduct a nationwide “Socio-Economic and Caste Census” in order to raise current levels of reservation for minority communities. The specified minority communities will benefit from credit, jobs, housing, land and education. The counterargument to this is that in New India caste is no longer the handicap the Raj made it, today the Hindu identity trumps being defined by caste.

Indian National Congress party leader and candidate for Raebareli constituency Rahul Gandhi

Indian National Congress party leader and candidate for Raebareli constituency Rahul Gandhi (Image: GETTY)

In the spirit of wokeism the Congress plan to establish a Diversity Commission that will measure, monitor and promote diversity in public and private employment and education.

Congress pledges to uphold and protect all manner of cultural, religious civic and human rights of minorities, and offer freedom of choice in dress, food, language and personal laws. Congress rejects majoritarianism.

Chapters are devoted to universal free healthcare, women, people with particular needs (widows-the elderly, LGBTQIA+ couples, the young/students, athletes, farmers, fishermen, and migrant workers).

The manifesto appears to turn India into a welfare-dependent state, this is a double-edged sword as some of the promises seem to benefit the organisers of division and beneficiaries of unequal personal freedoms, the emphasis on diversity and inequality foments division. This is also reflected in their rejection of central government and proposed support for state and local governments, suggesting that Congress supporting states will benefit.

INC are against “one nation one election” as proposed by the BJP, as opposed to the existing drawn-out process state by state, which takes six weeks and is hugely costly and paralyses parliament. A new rule is proposed whereby an MP leaving the party in which he was elected will receive an automatic disqualification of membership in Parliament; this rule is likely as a result of the number of Congress MPs who have crossed the floor to the BJP.

INDIA-POLITICS-ELECTION

Rahul Gandhi (Image: Getty)

Their economic policy is based around “work, wealth and welfare”, they have set a target of doubling the GDP in the next 10 years, achieved through job creation and higher outputs in all sectors. This chapter harks back to the successes of and post-1991 when Congress PM P.V. Narasimha Rao presided over an era of unprecedented liberalization and India achieved an open, free and competitive economy.

Thanks to Rao’s fiscal genius and antennae he revolutionised India’s economy and foreign affairs, but in the Congress script he does not merit a mention by name. Rao’s success irked the Gandhi family and controversies were conspired against him, eventually he lost office, only to be recognised by PM Modi in 2024 when he was posthumously awarded India’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna.

INC’s challenge is to live up to the BJP’s bar of lifting people out of poverty, since the BJP have been in power the United Nations Development Programme estimate that 14million Indians have been lifted out of poverty between 2015-2020.

Congress says they will undertake a complete overhaul of India’s taxation system to make it user-friendly, not a lot of detail here except that taxes will not burden the poor, does this suggest taxes will be onerous on the rich? It must be noted that Modi’s GST reforms have already delivered record tax receipts.

Gandhi’s mentor Sam Pitroda’s reference to American style inheritance tax has put fear into the middle and wealthy classes. There’s an element of hypocrisy in the fact that Gandhi is from a privileged background, the exclusive outreach to minorities contrasts with PM Modi, who is from an OBC (Other Backward Castes) background is representing Indians from all walks of life to achieve syncretic universality.

National security is a big deal for every government in India, Congress claim to reverse the alleged decline in defence expenditure, but the Modi government already announced an increase of 13% for the Ministry of Defence in the 2023-2024 Union Budget.

Congress would like to uphold the “visionary foreign policy of Jawaharlal Nehru”, whose non-strategic vision is usually called “non-alignment”, that has left India in a permanent border conflict with China starting with Aksai Chi and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Indian politicos have not forgotten that Nehru offered India’s seat on the UNSC to China, and Nehru has a catalogue of refusing or giving away advantages for India. Congress elites are still pally with China, Rahul Gandhi and Xi Jinping signed an unpublished Memorandum of Understanding with the CCP in 2008, and there are reports of ongoing meetings between the Congress and Chinese leadership. Congress claim they will repair India’s overseas image, which they have not noticed following the G7 in 2023 is at an all-time high.

Key takeaways from the points in the manifesto are: there is no mention of a meritocracy, what happens to the best and the brightest that India is well known for? Where is the magic money tree that will cover all the welfare, grants, subsidies and concessions? And what happens to all the geo-political gains made during the Modi era, such as the UK-India 2030 Roadmap; The Quad and the defence of the Indo-Pacific; the signing of three defence agreements between Delhi and Washington clinching a framework of mutual trust and long-term military and strategic cooperation with the West; and India’s strong stand on China, will there be a continuum or reversal?

This manifesto sums up the choice between wealth creation and wealth redistribution.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Meet the man dubbed ‘next Gandhi’ hoping to oust Narendra Modi in India’s election”
  1. As an Indian citizen, I believe the I.N.D.I.Alliance’s approach seems like a desperate attempt to gain votes by playing on religious and socio-economic divisions, rather than offering a coherent vision for the country’s future. It’s disappointing to see politics being used in such a divisive manner.

  2. As an Indian citizen, I believe that it is crucial for the political landscape to evolve beyond religious divisions and focus on the overall well-being of the nation and its people. The INC manifesto’s strategy of targeting specific demographics for votes only perpetuates the cycle of divisive politics. We need leaders who prioritize unity and progress for all citizens, regardless of their background.

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