Did Nyay really backfire on Congress?

Let me make one thing clear. I hoped and prayed that this scheme should backfire. I had even written an article on this same platform that the scheme will backfire on Congress. Now everyone, including some Congress insiders and sympathisers are agreeing that the scheme didn’t resonate with electorate enough (Congress Durbaaris agreeing this much is as close as they can get to the reality that the scheme backfired). But the reasons they are drawing for Nyay’s failure are not correct.

Many are saying people rejected the dole offered by Congress. The reasons they are drawing is neatly encapsulated in a tweet by one of my favorite authors Mr. Anand Ranganathan:

No sir. Indians didn’t reject the dole offered by Congress. In fact, Nyay WAS a game changer for Congress. The problem was their messaging. When you only have one ace up your sleeve the least you can do is to play it right. When Nyay was the only flagship scheme you were proposing the least Congress should have done is explain the idea in an attractive and comprehensible way. But Congress botched this basic thing spectacularly.

  1. Rahul Gandhi, the alleged proponent of the scheme, never came up with same figure for the amount of dole in 2 consecutive rallies.
  2. Sam Pitroda, the Guru of Pappu, asserted that tax will increase on middle class and they should not whine about it and be selfish. Contrast this with NDA finance minister Piyush Goyal who thanked middle class for their contribution in nation development.
  3. Abhijit Banerjee, the economist who was consulted on this scheme by Congress, confirmed the tax increase on middle class and revealed that inflation will go to double digits as a consequence of this scheme.
  4. P.Chidambaram, purportedly a front runner for Finance minister post in case of a UPA-3, guaranteed that tax won’t be increased but some subsidies will be scrapped without naming any of them.
  5. If (2) and (3) angered the middle class (4) made the poor jittery. To control the damage done by these statements, Rahul Gandhi came up with an even more convoluted source of income for his pet scheme, the pockets of Anil Ambanis, Mehuk Choksis, Nirav Modis etc., without realizing that money belongs to Banks and not Government of India.

All these made the scheme a joke in the minds of the electorate. And hence all those proposing this scheme in turn became jokers in the eyes of the electorate. I sometimes wonder if the Congress had indeed consulted the world famous economists on this scheme and they had given a go ahead for this scheme, then why didn’t they elaborate more on the scheme in their manifesto. Either they never had a detailed plan in the first place or they didn’t want to disclose it like the paranoid startup founder fearing the theft of his billion dollar idea. If it is the latter, then a small advice to Congress. Any startup is 1% idea and 99% execution. If your idea is good enough to be stolen then it is a great validation of your idea. But if it is the former and Congress indeed didn’t have a detailed plan for implementation of the scheme, then you just have accept that electorate saw through your charade and hence didn’t risk bringing the most corrupt party in post Independent Indian history back to power.

To again borrow the lines of Mr. Anand Ranganathan, the credibility of Congress is lower than the water table level in Gurugram. This alone swung the votes against Congress in spite of arguably a biggest dole scheme. This is the only conclusion you can draw because if Indians were indeed against the doles then they should have punished the present government for the many doles they gave like the Ujwala, Swach Bharat toilets, patronizing sick PSU’s, PM Awaz scheme etc.

Everyone loves free lunch. You just have to show that you have the capability to offer one.

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