BJP scrambles to counter Cong cash transfer move


"This is flagship in the sense that it is a game changer. It is a seminal programme like MNREGA, which would bring lasting benefits to millions of people," said Chidambaram. It would end "leakage and rent-seeking anywhere in the system", he added.

Asked about criticism from some opposition parties that the scheme is tantamount to indirectly bribing people, Chidambaram said that was "absurd" because the scheme only aimed to transfer benefits of welfare schemes more efficiently. He also dismissed suggestions about a link between the scheme and talk of possible mid-term elections.

At the BJP meeting, senior leaders such as Venkaiah Naidu, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha, among others, spoke about the scheme after the issue was raised by MP Uday Singh. BJP parliamentary party chairman L K Advani set up a two-member committee of Yashwant Sinha and Venkaiah Naidu to prepare a "policy paper" for the party on this issue.

"We are supportive of the idea of direct cash transfer. There were some doubts over the intentions and the manner of implementation of the scheme by the government," Sinha told The Indian Express.

Uday Singh urged the party to support the project saying that it was the BJP-led NDA government which had conceived the programme through a national citizens' registry. But he also said that what he saw as the UPA government's hurry to push it through could leave loopholes that can be "detrimental" to the effectiveness of the scheme.

However, members such as Rama Jois and Piyush Goyal said they had reservations about the project being linked to the Aadhaar number. This was supported by a large number of members. "It will be used as a bribe where funds from the national exchequer will be disbursed selectively by selective issue of Aadhaar cards," Jois is learnt to have said.

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