As he braces for a mega electoral battle, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi says his party’s soon-to-be released manifesto will reflect the people’s voice and not just one man’s view, a clear reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Gandhi also said the manifesto will lay major thrust on jobs creation, addressing agrarian distress and strengthening the education and health sectors besides charting a roadmap to boost economic growth.
The 48-year-old Congress president said the Congress-led UPA is storming back to power as people have rejected Modi’s politics of “false promises”.
“We want India’s voice and aspirations to prosper. We don’t believe in one man’s voice. We believe in everyone’s voice and choices. It requires tremendous discipline and hard work to do, but it works,” he said.
The Congress chief said the party’s manifesto is the result of extensive nationwide consultations and is a very “powerful” document aimed at redressing key challenges facing the nation.
Congress is set to release its manifesto next week, ahead of the first phase of polling on April 11.
Without divulging specific details of the manifesto, Gandhi said it will have a well-thought out “strategic plan” for creation of jobs on a “huge scale” and a roadmap for transformation of the agriculture sector as well as ways to boost small businesses and the economy at large.
Besides promoting entrepreneurship and industry, the Congress will also free businesses from the onslaught of “tax terrorism” and ensure fairness to small and medium traders, he said.
The Congress chief also said his party intends to significantly increase public investment in the education and health sectors which will help provide better facilities for the common person.
“Our manifesto has a commitment to increasing the expenditure on education and creating a high quality public education system. There is a tremendous amount of work that has gone into preparing our manifesto,” he said.
“All this is ground breaking stuff. So yes, while the BJP’s failures and Modiji’s false promises and incompetence are certainly election issues, we have more than enough to share when it comes to our plans and our vision for India,” he said.
Reflecting on his party’s poor performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll when it just got 44 seats, Gandhi said it was an “aberration”, asserting that the Congress is storming back to power.
“The Congress at one level is an organisation, but at another level, the Congress is a conversation.”
“It is allowing people to speak. It is allowing multiple viewpoints. It is allowing our institutions to have their own independence. It is not imposing unwitting ideas, like demonetisation on the nation,” he said.
He said the Congress party had got down to brass tacks after 2014 – to rework, rebuild and resurrect the organisation as a whole. This was initiated by decentralising power.
The party, through effective state leadership, reconnected with workers down to the booth level, he said, adding that it has been a priority and it has been successful as evidenced in the outcome of the recent state elections.