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'Rahul's promise proves original Garibi Hatao drive had failed'

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday described the poll promise of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to dole out Rs 72,000 each to poorest families every year as a "bluff announcement", saying no other political party has betrayed India for more than seven decades. Jaitley said the Congress has given to the people many slogans but very little resources to implement its election promises.

"If the Congress Party's announcement is tested on simple arithmetic, Rs 72,000 for five crore families works out to be Rs 3.6 lakh crore, which is less than 2/3rd of what is being given (by the current government) — A bluff announcement," Jaitley said.

In a Facebook post titled Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi already giving to poor much more than what the Congress promises?, Jaitley said no political party has betrayed India for more than seven decades other than the Congress. "It gave to the people of India many slogans and very little resources to implement them."

"In 1971, (late Prime Minister) Indira Gandhi gave her legendary slogan 'Garibi Hatao'. Her economics was not about increasing production and generating wealth, but only about redistribution of poverty. She supplemented her 1971 slogan while promising in election after election, the welfare of the largest number," wrote Jaitley.

Accusing the Opposition of sabotaging the pro-poor initiatives of the NDA government, Jaitley said, "If the Congress party and its friends have so much concern for the poor in India, why is it that its states are going slow in certifying the list of small and marginal farmers who are entitled to receiving the instalment of PM KISAN?"

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