Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been asked multiple times how he plans to fund his big ticket minimum income scheme, today said the money would come from the pockets of "chor (thief)" businessman favoured by "Chowkidar" Narendra Modi. The NYAY, meant to launch what the Congress calls a "surgical strike on poverty" is the flagship programme the party means to carry out if it comes to power. It had the top billing in the party's manifesto announced yesterday.
"Modi had promised to deposit money in the accounts of people, but he has done it only in the case of some rich businessmen like the Ambanis," Rahul Gandhi said today at a rally in Bokakhat, a town in upper Assam.
"The money (for NYAY scheme) will come from the pockets of "chor" (thieves) like Anil Ambani, to whom Chowkidar Narendra Modi has given money during the last four years... We will deposit it in the accounts of the poor, particularly women, irrespective of their caste, class or religion," Mr Gandhi said.
The Congress has piled on accusations of corruption and crony capitalism on the Prime Minister and his government over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The party contends that the government had opted for an overpriced deal to help industrialist Anil Ambani's rookie defence firm bag an offset contract with the manufacturer Dassault. Both government and Dassault have denied the claims.
Over the last five years, the Congress has also repeatedly reminded the government of its pre-election promise to flush out black money from foreign banks and deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every citizen.
Regarding the funding of the NYAY Scheme, the Congress has not revealed much. The party, though, has assured that it has consulted noted economists, including the Reserve Bank's former Governor Raghuram Rajan about the feasibility of its planned welfare schemes.
Yesterday asked about the BJP's contention that the schemes are not doable, Rahul Gandhi had snapped that it is "not do-able for the BJP". The Congress manifesto was delivered with the tagline of "Congress will deliver".
In an interview to NDTV later, Congress's former finance minister P Chidambaram, said the "the tax burden of the middle class, the average tax payer will not increase" due to the proposed welfare schemes.
"There are other ways to raise resources. In fact, the Government of India's resources do not rise at a pace at which resources of some individuals rise. Therefore there are ways to raise resources," Mr Chidambaram told NDTV.
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