Muslims believe in Modi now, Rahul needs to be more elegant: Vasundhara Raje
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Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje tells D K Singh and Sweta Dutta why the Modi factor will work in the state, and why its voters won't be swayed by the Congress's poll freebies
Will the populist schemes launched recently in Rajasthan have a bearing on elections?
A young man wrote on my Facebook page, "Cycle chahiye, paisa le lo, laptop chahiye, paisa le lo, yeh sarkar toh bheekh ki katori haath mein rakhkar hi chhodegi (Want a cycle, here's the money; want a laptop, here's the money; this government will not rest until it has made us all beggars)." There's money for everything, but no employment. That sums up what people think. I was astonished. Rajasthan ka aadmi swabhimaani hai (Rajasthanis are a proud people). Rahul Gandhi says I will give you four rotis and free medicine and you give me your vote. He could have been more elegant. For over 60 years, you have lived off people's poverty. You immortalized the slogan 'Gareebi Hatao' but the World Bank says 70 per cent of the people in India are poor. After 66 years of independence, who is to blame for this? The people of Rajasthan are proud and don't like to be dealt with in such an insensitive way. Why didn't the Gehlot government give pensions five years ago? We had introduced the Bhamashah Yojana and out of the Rs 800 crore allocated for it, I had already transferred Rs 200 crore. It was the precursor to what Nandan Nilekani is doing today (through the UIDAI). Rajasthan was the crucible in which the experiment was conducted. A female member of the family would get the card and Rs 1,500 would be deposited into her savings bank account. There was a health insurance of Rs 30,000. Seven lakh people had already benefited when the scheme was stopped (by the Gehlot government). We were the first state to start rolling out DBT (direct benefit transfers).