All for the greater glory of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv!
In a planned and systematic effort to gain unfair advantage over other political parties, the Congress has named all major Government programmes, projects and institutions in the country after three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family — Rajiv Gandhi, Mrs Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru — who are its icons, and disturbed the level playing field in the electoral arena.
Over the last 18 years, on a rough estimate about 450 Union and State Government programmes, projects and national and State level institutions involving public expenditure of hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees have been named after these three individuals.
While it is the prerogative of a Government to name an institution after a person whom it considers to be a national or State leader, Government programmes which have been initiated to ameliorate the lives of millions of citizens (like drinking water, housing and employment guarantee schemes and old age pensions) fall into an entirely different category. If the nomenclature of these programmes is not politically neutral, the sanctity of the democratic system would be in jeopardy.
Among the big ticket programmes that have been cleverly named after members of this family by the Union Government to extract unjust electoral mileage is the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (rural electrification programme), which involved an outgo of Rs 28,000 crore during the Eleventh Plan period. The drinking water mission, with an allocation of Rs 21,000 crore over three years is also named after him and is called the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission.
Other schemes, touching millions of people, which bear his name are the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers; the Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana (to promote small enterprises); the Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojana and the Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Bima Yojana (both insurance schemes).
Likewise, there are many mega programmes named after Mrs Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru by the Centre. For example, there is Indira Awas Yojana. Also named after her is the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme. Programmes named after Jawaharlal Nehru over the last two decades are the Jahawarlal Nehru Rozgar Yojana and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. The Rozgar Yojana, which later metamorphosed into Jawaharlal Gram Samruddi Yojana, was meant to provide employment to millions of unemployed citizens.
Similar Trend in States
This trend is even more apparent in the States, which have vied with each other to name programmes and schemes after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi Family whenever the Congress was in power.
Here is a sample: Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme, Pondicherry; Rajiv Ratna Awas Yojana, Delhi; Rajiv Arogyasri Health Insurance scheme, Andhra Pradesh; Rajiv Gandhi Computer Literacy Mission, Assam; Rajiv Gandhi Bridges and Roads Infrastructure Development Programme, Haryana; Rajiv Gandhi Vidyarthi Suraksha Yojana, Maharashtra; Rajiv Gandhi Tourism Development Mission, Rajasthan; Indira Kranthi Patham Scheme and Indira Jeevitha Bima Pathakam, Andhra Pradesh; Indira Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and Indira Gandhi Landless Agriculture Labour Scheme, Maharashtra; Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Vivah Shagun Yojana, Haryana; Indira Gandhi Calf-Rearing Scheme, Andhra Pradesh.
A perusal of these programmes and schemes shows a systematic attempt by the Congress to name every Government programme concerning every citizen – man ,woman, child; every possible circumstance in the life of every citizen – child bearing, child rearing, education of children, food, education of youth, employment, marriage, unemployment, destitution, handicap; and every possible challenge flowing out of lack of infrastructure – drinking water, electricity and housing after just three members of this political family who are icons of the Congress.
Obviously, the plan is to ensure maximum recall of Brand Congress among voters at every stage in life. Therefore, nothing is left out. The crèche for children of the working poor is named after Rajiv Gandhi. So is a breakfast scheme for poor children. The parents need to remember him for a host of other reasons – rural drinking water, rural electrification or scholarships.
Mrs Indira Gandhi comes in when the poor want a house subsidised by the Government and you think of Nehru when urban renewal programmes come into play. The Congress has taken its obsession with this family to such an extent that even calf-rearing schemes are named after them. Shockingly, even Brand IIM had been tinkered with. While all institutes of management started by the Centre go under the IIM brand, the Congress has mischievously named the IIM in Shillong as the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management.
The list of 450 Government programmes, schemes, institutions, etc, named after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family broadly fall into the following categories: Central Government programmes and projects (12); State Government Programmes (52); universities and educational institutions (98); ports and airports (6); awards, scholarships and fellowships (66); sports tournaments, trophies and stadia ( 47); national parks and sanctuaries (15); hospitals and medical institutions (39); national scientific and research institutions, chairs and festivals (37); and, roads, buildings and places (74).
Tomorrow: Even kabaddi and roller-skating have not been spared the Dynasty tag!
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A.Surya Prakash is an author and journalist and a leading commentator on Indian politics and constitutional and parliamentary issues.