Saturday, May 25th, 2024

Is there any electoral benefit hidden behind this? Understand the politics of free ration

New Delhi: Congress Party President Mallikarjun Kharge said on Wednesday that if he wins the elections, his government will provide 10 kg of food grains to the poor every month. To understand the meaning of Congress’ announcement of this plan after four phases of elections have passed, it is important to remember the assembly elections held in Uttar Pradesh two years ago. This scheme has been considered a major reason behind BJP’s victory in that election. Therefore, it is said that the reasons behind the announcement by the Modi government to extend this scheme for five more years, which was to end in December last year, were also related to electoral gains. Last year in November, in the midst of elections in five states, PM Modi had announced the extension of this scheme in a rally in Chhattisgarh. This scheme was started in June 2020 during Covid, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, poor citizens get five kg of wheat or rice free of cost. Now this scheme will continue till December 2028. PM has been continuously mentioning this scheme in his election rallies, but Congress calls it only a rebranding scheme arising out of its own policies.

Congress has been continuously protesting
Congress has said many times that this scheme is a rebranding of the National Food Security Act passed during UPA-2. Recently, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh had posted in X that in a letter written on August 7, 2013, Narendra Modi, as the CM of Gujarat, had opposed the National Food Security Act. Congress says the NFSA, passed by the UPA in 2013, was one of the most historic and important laws in the history of India. Under this, 75% of rural and 50% of urban Indians were guaranteed subsidized ration as a legal right. In such a situation, when the population is 141 crore, then under this, 95 crore people should get subsidized ration. Congress says that the Modi government has failed to conduct the 2021 census in the country, hence only 81 crore people are getting ration and 14 crore Indians are deprived of this right.

Political analyst Yashwant Deshmukh says that announcement of schemes has its place, but other factors also play a role in voting. He says, ‘Political parties keep announcing announcements and schemes on their behalf, but credibility is an important factor in this. People vote on the announcement of the party in whose words they have more confidence. In such a situation, questions are being raised that if according to the government 25 crore people have come out of the poverty line, then why 80 crore people are being given free food grains. Regarding this, the PM had said in the Parliament itself that we give food grains and will continue to give them, because 25 crore people have become lower middle class, and we have a better understanding about their needs and importance.

Why is it considered important?
Last year, during the assembly elections of 5 states, many questions were raised by the opposition regarding the scheme of free ration by the PM. Parties like TMC had taken the Modi government to task regarding the timing of this announcement by the PM. Experts believe that such announcements are more beneficial in states where the number of middle class and poor people is high. This is said to be especially important in BJP’s victory in the UP assembly elections. In such a situation, it is not unusual to find mention of the announcement of free ration between elections, whereas Congress has been calling it its own plan.

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