Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Wednesday criticised the Congress for its minimum income guarantee scheme, endorsing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s claim that it is “bluff”. However, Mayawati said the BJP and Congress are “birds of the same feather”.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had announced the Nyoontama Aay Yojana, or NYAY, scheme on Monday, in which he promised Rs 72,000 a year to the poorest 20% families if his party wins the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. On Tuesday, Gandhi called the scheme a “surgical strike on poverty”.
“Ruling BJP calling Congress slogan of Garibi Hatao 2.0 as bluff is true,” Mayawati tweeted on Wednesday. “But is poll bluff and reneging of poll promises the sole domain of the BJP? In fact BJP and Congress party are both birds of the same feather in betraying the interests of the poor, labourers, farmers and others.”
The BJP on Monday called the scheme a “bluff”. The amount promised by the Congress is “less than two-thirds of the existing Direct Benefit Transfer under Modi government, which averages Rs 1.068 lakh annually”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. “So what is being claimed by the Congress Party – a bluff announcement.”
On Tuesday, the party accused the Congress of misleading the public with its election promise. The ruling party pointed out contradictions in the Congress’ statements and described it as a “classic Congress style volte-face within 24 hours”.
The BJP posted clips from a press conference by Gandhi on Monday and another by the party’s spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Tuesday, in which they appear to be contradicting each other.
Gandhi had on Monday said: “The minimum income line is Rs 12,000 [per month]. The difference between the income of the family and the minimum income line would be given by the government. Suppose your income is Rs 6,000, then the government would top-up [to close] the gap between the income and Rs 12,000.”
Surjewala on Tuesday categorically said that the initiative is not a “top-up” scheme. “All 20% families will get Rs 72,000 every year. I repeat, it is not a top-up scheme. Each family would get Rs 72,000 – 5 crore families, 25 crore people.”