Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the narrative for upcoming Lok Sabha elections will not revolve around the Ram temple but issues such as jobs, farmers problems and "corruption in the Rafale deal".
The BJP has been clamouring for a resolution to the dispute. In a recent interview, the Prime Minister hinted at an ordinance once the legal process is over. But, can Rahul Gandhi and Congress keep the narrative squarely on jobs and the economy? Here are some quick facts on the government's performance on some economic parameters starting with jobs.
Data from the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that employment growth seems to have stagnated. Over 406 million people were part of the workforce in FY18 and this number was down to just over 400 million in the first quarter of this financial year.
The CMIE also released fresh data on Thursday showing the new investments in the economy is at its lowest level in 14 years. In the December-quarter, new projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore came into the pipeline and this is the lowest level since mid-2004.
One key achievement of the government is the rollout of the GST. While the collections are steadily improving, it is still well below the asking rate and in this financial year, the government could face a big shortfall in GST revenues.
CNBC-TV18 caught up with Mahua Moitra, MLA of TMC; Ghanshyam Tiwari spokesperson of SP; Shaina NC, spokesperson of BJP and Gourav Vallabh spokesperson of Congress, to discuss what could be the narrative that the Congress and the opposition will hope to leverage on in 2019 elections.
Mahua Moitra said, "There are actually two narratives, one is being set by the BJP led government which is clearly that of Hindutva, Ram Mandir and there is a narrative which the rest of India is setting which is what the public is setting - which farmers are setting, rural distress is setting, small and medium traders are setting, which all of the Indian voter is setting and that is of development of economic growth."
Ghanshyam Tiwari said, "On the day of New Year the Prime Minister gave a great interview. Picture 2014 a similar moment, Prime Minister would have said Acche Din Aayenge. In 2019, after five years of his rule, he did not even speak about that slogan, he did not even promise a similar slogan, so there is no message of hope emanating from the Prime Minister.
Shaina NC said, "We have always believed that the only agenda should be the development and progress of this country. In 2014, all we ensured is a stable government, good governance and of course, progress which we have delivered on multiple accounts."Gourav Vallabh said, "Right now three crore youngsters are looking for jobs as per CMIE data. In the past one year, 1.12 crore people have lost their jobs. Why it happened. It happened because the BJP government did the biggest scam of independent India which is demonetisation. Post demonetisation as per CMIE the MSME sector has gone for a toss. 70 percent dip in the operating profit of MSME and the job cut is around 35 percent."