NEW DELHI: Spelling out its stance on the culture of freebies in response to the Election Commission’s letter to various political parties, the BJP has made a distinction between freebies and welfarism, suggesting that the parties should place emphasis on voter empowerment and capacity-building rather than increase the dependency of people.
“The freebies are meant for alluring voters while welfarism is a policy intervention for inclusive growth,” the BJP is learnt to have said in its reply. It has specifically maintained that it has no objections to the poll panel’s idea that political parties should submit the financial viability of their poll promises.
Earlier this month, the poll panel had sought the views of all parties on its proposal to amend the model code of conduct. It also asked parties to provide authentic information to voters on the financial viability of their poll promises.
“Our party has suggested that emphasis should be on empowering voters, increasing their capacity, imparting their skills to raise the country’s human capital,” a party leader involved in the process of drafting the affidavit said. He said that the party feels that the political parties should give more emphasis on empowering voters and enhancing their capacity for their overall development.
“Giving homes and free rations have a different purpose and providing electricity another,” the BJP functionary said. He explained that housing is a basic requirement and that providing a home is a one-time help. Initiatives like free rations started during the Covid crisis when people lost their jobs are welfare measures and cannot be equated with free electricity, he suggested.
The party has toed the line outlined by PM Modi at several occasions in the recent past. Modi had derided the “revadi” culture, a reference to freebies offered by political parties, sparking a war of words between the BJP and the AAP.
The Supreme Court has also observed that the issue concerning freebies is an important one and requires debate.
The EC’s move came amid the freebies versus welfare measures debate that triggered a political slugfest. In a letter to all recognised national and state parties, it asked them to submit their views on the proposals by October 19.





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