Nagpur: Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s epithets for Narendra Modi have always had an impact. Her ‘Maut ka Saudagar’ remark helped Modi invoke Gujarati pride in his state. However, her latest adjective for Modi – ‘Hawabaaz’ – seems to have struck a chord.
It has sparked a buzz in the media and social media and inspired several jokes on the Prime Minister.
Even though the BJP launched a counterattack through a press conference by HRD minister Smriti Irani, the jokes didn’t die down. Perhaps the BJP’s problem stems from Modi’s proclivity for over-the-top statements.
Here are 10 facts which indicate that Modi’s claims may well have been hot air.
01 The falling rupee
Then: Before the Lok Sabha elections, Modi never spared a chance to blame PM Manmohan Singh for the fall in the rupee with respect to the dollar. The rupee was at 58 to a US dollar when Modi took over.
Now: The rupee now stands at 67 to a dollar.
02 Contesting Pakistan
Then: Modi had slammed the UPA for its “weak” approach towards Pakistan. He had promised to contain cross-border attacks from Pakistan.
Now: Ceasefire violations have increased dramatically under Modi. There have been almost 700 violations since he came to power.
03 Black money
Then: Modi had promised to bring back India’s black money stashed in offshore accounts. He had said that every Indian would get Rs 10-15 lakh once this money is brought back.
Now: Hardly anything has been done on this front. Even the BJP seems to have given up on this cause. BJP president Amit Shah said that Modi’s promise was just a ‘jumla’ (dialogue). Its MP Nishikant Dubey even poked fun at his own government in Parliament by saying “even finance minister Arun Jaitley knows that black money can’t be brought back”.
04 Petrol prices
Then: The BJP protested on the streets against the UPA whenever there was a hike in fuel prices, even if it was because of international factors.
Now: International crude oil prices have decreased from $105 in June 2014 to $48 now. But the Modi government hasn’t brought about a commensurate decrease in domestic fuel prices.
05 Onion woes
Then: One of Modi’s key slogans during the Lok Sabha elections was ‘Bahut hui mehngai ki maar, abki baar Modi sarkar’. In the summer of 2014, when Modi became the PM, onion prices were around Rs 25-30 per kg.
Now: Today, onions cost Rs 80 per kg, about three times more than when Modi became PM.
Rupee stands at 67 to a dollar. Modi’s criticism of Manmohan Singh has come back to haunt him
06 Railway fares
Then: Modi came with the promise of introducing bullet trains, rescuing passengers from arduous journeys.
Now: Trains continue to function in the same manner, with very little improvement in terms of efficiency and containing delays. However, rail fares were increased by 14%. The price of platform tickets were increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10.
07 Farmers’ welfare
Then: Attacking the UPA government for being anti-farmer, Modi gave the slogan “Mar Jawaan, Mar Kisaan”. He had promised a new era of prosperity for India’s farmers.
Now: According to reports, Modi’s first year in office witnessed an increase in farmer suicides. Instead of providing any relief, the Modi government tried its best to pass an amended land acquisition bill that was widely criticised as being too anti-farmer. It had to be withdrawn because of adamant resistance by Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations.
08 Digital India
Then: Modi promised to make internet accessible and affordable for every Indian.
Now: Data usage charges and call charges are steadily rising. Mobile companies continue to deprive people of affordable telephony. For instance, the price of Airtel’s 3G internet plan increased by 18% and 2G plan by 13%. Call drops continue to be a regular occurrence, and despite the government’s reassurances, nothing much has improved.
09 The state of health
Then: Modi had promised revolutionary steps to strengthen the public health care system in the country.
Now: Funds for the health sector have been cut drastically. HIV/AIDS related programs are suffering because of insufficient funds.
10 Housing for all
Then: Modi government has recently announced three flagship schemes for urban India. They are the Smart Cities mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All mission.
Now: The expected expenditure for this is around Rs 4 trillion. However, there has been no progress on this front.