OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today promised Rahul Gandhi that a decision on his request to extend the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to the entire country would be taken soon. Rahul made the request when he went to wish the Prime Minister on his birthday.

While Rahul Gandhi was making his representation beginning the process of associating himself with the UPA’s populist schemes, the BBC threw cold water on the Congress performance in implementing NREGA.

There is an interesting political sidelight to the scheme – early data is showing that three of the top performing states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh – in terms of generating employment are ruled by the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

That was the BBC’s Soutik Biswas in his piece on how disappointing the EGS has been in other states.

Wait there is more bad news for the Congress on its flagship program

Jean Dreze says the scheme’s transparency safeguards, helped by the landmark right to information law, can go a long way in preventing corruption. A recent verification of workers rolls in two districts in Chhattisgarh found that 95% of wages paid according to the workers registers had actually been received by concerned workers.

Contrast this with Jharkhand where the Congress has propped up a puppet regime

a verification of the attendance registers in a district in eastern Jharkhand state last October found that only 15% of the wages paid had actually reached the workers.

But the real slap in the face for those who swear by the “aam aadmi”, “inclusive growth”, “social justice” come from this

The scheme seems to have flopped in the western Maharashtra and eastern West Bengal states, the first known for its administrative acumen and the second for its pro-poor Communist government.

Rajasthan, for example, has been found to be the top performer among all major states – every rural family has got 77 days of work and 67% of the women have got work. Moreover 73% of the funding has gone on wages, rather than other spending, which is much higher than anticipated.

While Rahul Gandhi may be glossing over the dismal  Congress record on NREGA the the Congress Media Spin Machine has started to roll as predicted by Offstumped the other day to gloss over his own lack of accomplishment.

However the spin machine seems to have got its foot in its mouth at the beginning itself.

First you had the euphoria over India’s victory in the first ever T20 World Cup (thanks to Prasanna Vishy for pointing this out), Congress spin meister and spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi went head over heels to put a cricketing spin on Rahul Gandhi’s elevation with these words

“The spirit of youth was reflected yesterday afternoon when Rahul Gandhi took over an important position and Dhoni and his team delivered a magnificent victory to India,” AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. “I have no doubt that Rahul Gandhi will return the compliment by decisively winning the next big match,” he said.

Unfortunately however for Singhvi the spin turned out to be a doosra.

Unfortunately however for Singhvi the spin turned out to be a doosra.At 27 years of age MS Dhoni has a trail blazing track record of talent and accomplishment to show while his ageing protege in Rahul Gandhi at 37 years of age has neither accomplishment nor talent to lay claim to.

With just genes and a popular last name being his only claim to political office, the not so young anymore Gandhi is also an intellectual vaccum without anything particularly insightful to offer on the defining issues of this day and age. The media as predicted by Offstumped has gone gaga over his elevation. The lone exception is an odd posting on CNN-IBN by Bhupendra Choubey celebrating small town hero Dhoni and questioning the wisdom of fast tracking the not so young anymore Rahul Gandhi’s political career.

Now you have Oily Moily claiming that Rahul Gandhi would give the Congress a facelift.

Offstumped Bottomline: What are we to read from the Congress spin – that dont expect Rahul Gandhi to give the Congress either a Political Uplift or an Intellectual Uplift. It appears that even the spin meisters agree that his promise to the Party is cosmetic in nature.

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