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Business News/ Politics / News/  PM Modi says Congress wants to give people's wealth to Muslims. Fact check on what Nyay Patra actually says…
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PM Modi says Congress wants to give people's wealth to Muslims. Fact check on what Nyay Patra actually says…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks have triggered a political row with many calling his comments ‘hate speech.’ But what did the Congress manifesto ‘Nyay Patra’ say about wealth re-distribution that has become a political issue? Let's take a look.

PM Modi says Congress will redistribute wealth. What exactly does the manifesto say? (ANI )Premium
PM Modi says Congress will redistribute wealth. What exactly does the manifesto say? (ANI )

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sparked controversy on Sunday after he said that if the Congress party were to come to power, it would redistribute wealth among those ‘with more children.’ The PM also cited former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's disputed remarks that Muslims had the first claim on the country's resources.

"This urban-naxal mindset, my mothers and sisters, they will not even leave your 'Mangalsutra'. They can go to that level," Modi said addressing a rally in Rajasthan's Banswara. "The Congress manifesto says they will calculate the gold with mothers and sisters, get information about it and then distribute that property. They will distribute it to whom - Manmohan Singh's government had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's assets," the PM said addressing an election rally on Sunday.

The Prime Minister's remarks have triggered a political row with many calling his comments ‘hate speech’. But, what did the Congress manifesto say about wealth re-distribution that has snowballed into a political row?

The Congress party's manifesto doesn’t mention anything about wealth re-distribution to any particular community. In fact, Prime Minister Modi’s remarks seem to be in response to at least three different things linked together with no direct reference in the Congress manifesto ‘Nyay Patra’ released on April 5.

Rahul Gandhi, wealth re-distribution and Caste Census

On April 6, a day after the manifesto release, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while speaking in Hyderabad, reportedly promised what he called “financial and institutional survey" for re-distribution of the country’s wealth and jobs. The re-distribution, Gandhi said, would be taken up after the already-promised caste census by the Congress party in its manifesto.

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“We will do a caste census so that the backwards, SCs, STs, poor of general castes and minorities know how much (in terms of numbers) they account for in the country. Thereafter, a financial and institutional survey to find who holds the country’s wealth will be taken up. We will give you whatever is your right," Gandhi is heard saying in the speech.

The Congress manifesto talks about a nation-wide Socio-Economic and Caste Census to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. “Based on the data, we will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action," reads the manifesto. 

The Prime Minister was, perhaps, referring to Rahul Gandhi’s Hyderabad speech. The Congress manifesto, however, doesn’t have any mention of ‘re-distribution’ of wealth based on any survey.

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s 2006 speech

Prime Minister Modi also invoked an old ‘out of context’ statement made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, where he reportedly said that ‘Muslims should have the first right’ to the country’s resources. The then Prime Minister's Office had clarified that Singh meant the “first claim on resources" would be of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children, and minorities.

Also Read: PM Modi’s speech sparks row: What does MCC say about ‘hate speech’?

“Through a deliberate and mischievous misinterpretation of what the Prime Minister said here yesterday at the meeting of the National Development Council, on fiscal priorities of the government, an avoidable controversy has been generated. The Prime Minister's observations have also been quoted out of context in some sections of the electronic media, fueling a baseless controversy," the PMO clarification said on December 10, 2006.

Nyay Patra Promises on Wealth

However, the Congress manifesto does talk about wealth and the ‘rising’ inequality between the rich and the poor. In the introduction section, the manifesto, the grand old party talks about inequality between the rich on the one hand and the poor and middle classes on the other having increased sharply dealing a body blow to the goals of equality, equity, and social and economic justice. 

Also Read: Indian National Congress pledges to re-set economic policy in its manifesto

The document mentions a report titled “Income and Wealth Inequality in India, 1922-2023: The Rise of the Billionaire Raj" by leading global economists, including Thomas Piketty, purportedly showing that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is more unequal than even under the British Raj.

“We will address the growing inequality of wealth and income through suitable changes in policies," says the Congress manifesto in Economy section.

Nav Sankalp Economic Policy

The manifesto also mentions a ‘Nav Sankalp Economic Policy’ saying that after 33 years, the time was ripe for a re-set of economic policy. This policy, reads the document, will aim to build a fair, just and equal-opportunity economy and bring prosperity to all sections of the people. 

"Congress will herald a new beginning, just as we did in 1991, involving all sections of the people in nation-building. The time has come to reset and reprioritize our roadmap for economic development in the context of the twin challenges to our economy, namely, unemployment and inflation," reads the manifesto.

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Published: 22 Apr 2024, 02:31 PM IST
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