Bill Clinton said this in the 1992 presidential election – it’s the economy stupid! At that time the US economy was going through a recession. The economic condition of the people was bad and there was a big problem of employment. Then Clinton made the economy an election issue. It was a risky decision because the then President George Bush, like any ‘National Populist’, had guaranteed his victory by waging the first Gulf War. He attacked Kuwait in 1991 and after that 91 percent of American citizens were with him. A year later, in 1992, the plight of the US economy turned the tide. But for that, Bill Clinton and his campaign team had to make it a big issue. He took the risk and raised the issue of the crisis of employment and health services. On an emotional issue, everyday crisis related to life was made the theme of the election.
Isn’t the situation in India today economic slowdown? Is there no employment crisis in front of people today? Isn’t the problem of inflation facing every section of the society today? Isn’t the primary concern of every citizen today better healthcare? But sadly, no opposition party is making them an election issue. The Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting elections in Punjab as an opposition party, but it is also making issues of threat to the life of the Prime Minister, the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh’s Sahibzadas and national security. Similarly, in the remaining four states, the Congress and other opposition parties are fighting against the BJP, but they are trapped in the communal narrative being created by the BJP. Otherwise there was no reason why Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would have said after the election announcement that ‘this is an opportunity to defeat hatred’. Of course, the hatred being spread in the society also has to be defeated, but the issue that affects the lives of both those who are spreading hatred and against whom hatred is being spread, is the issue of the economy!
Narendra Modi has used economic issues as electoral gains against the Manmohan Singh government in 2014. Slogans like ‘Bahu hui dearness ki maar ab ki baar Modi sarkar’ or ‘Bahu hui petrol-diesel ki maar ab ki baar Modi sarkar’ or ‘Acche din aane wale hai’ were directly linked to the promise of improving the lives of the people. . Modi’s image of Hindu Hriday Samrat was flowing like an undercurrent at that time and promises were being made from above to shed the Ganges of development through the Gujarat model. This proved to be a hoax but there is no doubt that the popular slogans that created the illusion of development attracted the people and only then the middle class expecting Manmohan Singh completely went with the BJP and the lower middle class and The poor also saw more potential in Modi.
Despite this, it is a matter of regret that the opposition parties could not make issues of economic realities like inflation, unemployment, growth rate, currency price in any election after that. If we compare the first seven years of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister with the first seven years of Manmohan Singh, then the difference will be visible automatically. The average growth rate in the first seven years of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government was 8.4 per cent, while the average growth rate in the first seven years of the Modi-led NDA government was 4.8 per cent. The growth rate of the last two years has no meaning because these two years have disappeared from the graph of the economy. The growth rate in the current financial year is expected to be 9.2 percent. Even if this happens, then on the last day of the current financial year i.e. 31 March 2022, the size of the country’s economy will be as big as it was on 31 March 2019.
Think, for two years, the country has been making strides in its place and in the meantime the wealth of the country’s billionaires has increased from $313 billion to $596 billion, or almost doubled. India became the third country in the world in terms of the number of billionaires. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth increased to $ 93 billion, then Gautam Adani’s wealth became $ 77 billion and he became the second richest man in Asia. How did this miracle happen? The country’s GDP is stuck at the situation two years ago, the income of the common man is declining, unemployment is at a 45-year high, the wholesale inflation figure is at a record level above 14 percent, around 23 crore people are in poverty. reached the bottom of the line, economic disparity became greater than at any time, currency prices hit record highs of Rs 75, petroleum products cost two and a half times more than promised in 2014, Despite the promise of Make in India, imports are increasing, dependence on China is increasing, trade balance is deteriorating continuously, savings of people are decreasing, banks are going bankrupt, yet the wealth of selected industrialists is increasing!
Agriculture is still the largest employing sector in the country. 60 percent of the country’s population is still dependent on agriculture, but its share in the GDP has come down to 15 percent. Think, in 1967 the share of agriculture in GDP was 43 percent and then 80 percent of the people were dependent on it. Now the population dependent on agriculture has come down by 20 percent and the share of agriculture in GDP has come down to one-third. The rhetoric of doubling the income of farmers has now been stopped because ‘Samman Rashi’ of five hundred rupees per month has been given to the farmers of the country. Even the rhetoric of making the country a five trillion dollar economy is not happening now because the country has now moved from the path of development to the path of ‘New Welfare’. The term ‘New Welfare’ was coined by Arvind Subramaniam, who was the Chief Economic Advisor to the Narendra Modi government. Now this jumla has become the mantra to win the election and no party has the courage to think out of the box and take the risk and raise the real issues in front of the public.