New Delhi, May 15: Amid the high-decibel campaign and fierce competition between BJP and the INDIA bloc to woo new voters, the free ration to the country’s 80 crore citizens has become a new rallying point for the latter. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, addressing a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday, said that the INDIA bloc will provide 10 kg free ration to people, as against NDA’s 5 kg. “You are giving 5 kg ration to poor, we will provide 10 kg free ration,” Kharge said while scoffing at Modi govt’s assertions on feeding the poor.

Kharge cited the examples of Karnataka and Telangana and said that Congress governments have implemented the same, there. He also accused the Modi government of taking ‘undue credit’ over free ration and said that this was brought out by the Congress-led UPA government under the Food Security Act. Notably, the Congress manifesto for the 2024 elections didn’t mention free ration and now has suddenly popped up after the culmination of the fourth phase of elections. Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Terming PM Narendra Modi As ‘Jhoothon Ka Sardar’, Mallikarjun Kharge Says ‘If He Becomes Prime Minister Again, Polls Won’t Be Held in Country’

The major thrust of the Congress poll manifesto was on empowering women with Rs 1 lakh yearly assistance and apprenticeship to unemployed youth, under which they can avail assistance upto Rs 1 lakh. Interestingly, the Congress President’s promise comes a day after Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertions that the BJP has already won 270 seats and the next three phases will only add numbers to its kitty. The free ration to people started during the Covid pandemic to feed the poor and needy, has continued since then. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also declared before the polls that this scheme would continue for another five years, in his third term. PM Narendra Modi Targets Congress at Lok Sabha Election Rally in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, Says ‘India Does Not Want Weak, Cowardly, and Unstable Congress Government’ (Watch Video)

Mallikarjun Kharge Promises 10 Kg Free Ration to Poor

According to estimates, the average yearly cost of this scheme comes at around Rs 2 lakh crore. If Congress forms the next government and implements it, the budget will shoot up and by rough estimates, it would accrue an expense of Rs 4 lakh crore per year. The slew of promises in Congress' Nyay Patra including assistance to women and the unemployed and the formula to achieve it has already come under scrutiny from experts. If free ration also gets included in the list, it will add further burden on the taxpayers.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 15, 2024 03:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website