It is not the Opposition but the Congress’s own Mani Shankar Aiyar who has exposed the hollowness of the UPA’s "aam aadmi" plank.
Much to his party’s embarrassment, the Minister for Sports and Panchyati Raj maintained in a speech at the CII recently that the 9 per cent economic growth rate has benefited only 0.2 per cent of the population. And he buttressed this with the argument that any move at bringing the focus back on the rural poor is shrugged off both by his colleagues and by the media.
The Minister’s comments have been picked up by Left leaders to hit out at the allegedly "pro-rich" policies of the government. Speaking during the discussion on the demands for grants of the Labour Ministry, CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta cited Aiyar’s assessment and used it to highlight the "contradictions" within the Government on economic policies.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi sidestepped a pointed query on Aiyar’s speech. He emphasized his party’s efforts at distributive equity. "The Congress party is for enlarging the size of distribution of the cake," he said. He buttressed his claim by pointing to the UPA’s "large number of achievements’ in this regard. But he did not list them out.
Since it came to power at the Centre, the UPA has come up with the right to information Act that is used by the common man to seek information and accountability from the administration on its policies and monies spent; it has enacted a law to provide at least 100 days employment at a minimum wage of least Rs 60 to a member of rural household it is brought a law to provide OBC quotas-in-education; it intends to pursue with the recommendations of the Sachar panel report on the status of muslims in the country.