Congress MP Shashi Tharoor commented on Thursday that Rahul Gandhi’s image has improved significantly following his Bharat Jodo Yatra. He stated that there was a negative perception of Rahul Gandhi, who was referred to as “Pappu,” but the 150-day journey to meet people from all walks of life and raise important issues has changed that view. Tharoor suggested that Rahul Gandhi is now seen as a more responsible politician, instead of someone who engages in “scoot-and-shoot” behavior.
Tharoor also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pointing out that Rahul Gandhi is willing to openly discuss national issues such as unemployment and inflation at press conferences, whereas the Prime Minister has not addressed many press meets in the past eight years. Tharoor stated that Rahul Gandhi is the only political leader who is prepared to openly discuss important issues facing the country.
Tharoor also acknowledged Rahul Gandhi’s “mitra kaal” remark about the government’s budget as a politically charged statement with substance. He explained that the statement was meant to show the public that the budget only benefits a few billionaires close to the government, and that 1% of the population holds 40% of the country’s assets.
Tharoor called the 2023 Union Budget “anti-climactic,” explaining that the public had hoped the government would do something for the common man, especially with the upcoming election. However, the government has forgotten about the common man, Tharoor said. He criticized the record low allocation for the MGNREGA scheme, stating that even last year, the government had to bring in a supplementary demand for fresh funds.
Tharoor also expressed disappointment over the high unemployment rate, which has reached a record high of 16% among 18-25 year olds and is even higher, at 40%, in his home state of Kerala. Tharoor argued that the capital expenditure outlay of 10 lakh crore rupees will not be enough to solve the problem of unemployment and that the government needs to provide job opportunities for people with different skill sets, including doctors and postgraduates.
Tharoor acknowledged that previous Congress governments had their own problems but emphasized that they laid the foundation for a strong economy. However, he criticized the current government for cutting the social security net in the budget. He also criticized the new tax regime, stating that it does not offer any deductions.
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