Mudda panel says promises are routine, will fool no one

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress on Saturday released their Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the Uttar Pradesh elections. They have tried to lure the youth, farmers and women with promises of free smartphones and cycles, and reservation for women. Both the BJP and BSP have criticised the CMP with BSP supremo Mayawati saying the people of Uttar Pradesh are not going to fall for these sops.

But how important are promises made during election campaigns and how far do political parties go in fulfilling these promises after coming to power? This was the topic of discussion on Saturday’s edition of APN’s daily current affairs talk show, Mudda, which was hosted by anchor Himanshu Dikshit. The panellists included Dinesh Singh from the BJP, SP spokesperson Jagdev Singh Yadav, Omkar Nath Singh of the Congress and APN Consulting Editor Govind Pant Raju.

Speaking about the promises, Raju said: “This is a very clever move by the alliance to announce their programme at a time when voting for the first phase has already begun. With the press conference of today, they have tried their best to move the election in their favour.” Commenting on the nature of the press conference, Raju added that it was a partial press conference and the questions which were asked were pre-decided which left many mediapersons dissatisfied.

Raju further said that the most important and commendable point in the programme was reservation for women. He said: “As far as electricity, water, metro and road development are concerned, we can say that these are related to development but the remaining five promises that they have made just talk about giving and there is no vision behind them – how will the government, which is already in debt, rustle up the money to fulfil all these promises?”

Asked why political parties indulge in such freebie politics, Dinesh Singh said: “The alliance should not have declared the programme at this time. The reason they have done it is because they can see that the public is not with them.” He also called it an alliance of two families instead of an alliance between two parties. Speaking about the promises, he questioned why the SP had not talked about farmers during its five-year regime and said that the public is not going to get fooled by them again.

Replying to Dikshit’s question on the timing of the announcement, Omkar Nath Singh said: “Everything has a time and since our alliance was formed quite late, it took us a long time to form a common minimum programme and our leaders were also very busy in campaigning and that’s why we got late. I agree it could have come a little earlier but nevertheless it has still come.” Talking about freebie politics, he said that when a family’s condition is not financially stable and the kids want to go for higher education, the head of the family goes out of his way to make it possible and that’s exactly what the alliance was doing.

Yadav also pointed out all the promises that the SP has fulfilled during its regime and accused the central government of not letting the party work in some areas. Dinesh Singh refuted these charges.

Giving his concluding remarks, Raju said: “The public is smart and understands the reality behind these promises but it won’t be right to label these promises as wrong because then how would voters decide about which party to bring to power?”