New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi, along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, released the party manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday.
While the Congress is touting this manifesto as "Jan Awaz Ghoshnapatra", chairperson of the manifesto committee P Chidambaram ensured that the manifesto 2019 will address everyone's concerns.

Weaker national security

The manifesto promises that, if the Congress forms the next government, it will make changes in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. While activists have for long cribbed about the AFSPA, soldiers and paramilitary forces insist that this law is required by them to operate in strife-torn areas that are not normal like other parts of the country. The Army, CRPF, etc rubbish the allegation that the law is abused by the men in uniform. They say that any kind of indiscipline or transgression is dealt with strictly by court martial law.

A lifting or dilution of the AFSPA could lead to the situation tilting in the favour of terrorists and other militants in areas affected by insurgency.

Socialism-capitalism mix, says Chidambaram

“There was so much to be said, but we tried to accommodate everything in manifesto, so that it can it can address the concerns of the farmers, youth, dalits, those concerned over education, health, foreign policy and national security,” said Chidambaram.
The former finance minister also said that the Congress’s manifesto aims at bringing wealth and welfare together. “Our manifesto will focus on this and lay out the path to ensure this happens," he added.

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Making all happy

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that today is a unique day in the history of the Congress stated, “We are about to unveil a scheme which will revolutionise the farm sector and make the lives of the poorest of the poor”.

Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, attacked the BJP by saying that it has been counter-productive to India's growth story. “All they have done is divide communities and weakened our security. Everyone know what they did in Kashmir in the last 5 years.”

The Congress president also promised to give priority to the national security.
Earlier, Rahul had stated that the manifesto will reflect the people's voice and not just one man's view, making a clear reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said the manifesto will lay major thrust on jobs creation, addressing agrarian distress and strengthening the education and health sectors besides charting a roadmap to boost economic growth.
Congress had initiated a consultation process across the country and many of its top leaders had interacted with a host of people from different sections to seek their views on their aspirations from the party.

The Congress has reiterated its "commitment" to handout Rs 72,000 each per annum to 5 crore poor Indians, which would cost the exchequer Rs 3,60,000 crore besides creating the humongous issue of identifying the poorest. The promise is fraught with the risk of monetary corruption by bureaucrats and political favouritism by the ruling parties apparatchiki.

The Congress has also made a tentative promise of a separate budget for farmers. While promising to address the issue of farmer suicides, the manifesto does not present a roadmap, let alone a solution, to address farmers' grievances.

The manifesto promises the youth a plethora of jobs. However, there is no particular package to boost industry and investment, which would create the number of jobs necessary.

With PTI inputs