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Congress to discard 'Manmohanomics' for pro-poor image

Shahid Abbas in New Delhi | July 08, 2003 10:08 IST

The Congress plans to put aside 'Manmohanomics' and present a pro-poor image in the months leading to the 2004 general election.

The shift, which will be approved during the ongoing Vichar Manthan Shivir (brainstorming session) in Shimla, is being attributed to electoral compulsions and the realisation that it may have to face the electorate in the company of socialist parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party.

At its Pachmarhi session in 1998, the party had adopted an economic resolution stating that the reforms introduced during 1991-96, when it was in power, had led to impressive economic achievements.

"We certainly take the credit for initiating reforms, but it should have a human face," Congress spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said on Monday.

Congress sources told rediff.com that the party has no paper on economics at the Shimla session. The issue will be covered under the themes of Rural Transformation, Social Empowerment and Good Governance, they explained.

The Congress is once again keen to position itself as a party of the downtrodden. Its latest slogan Congress Ka Haath, Gharib Ke Saath is expected to drive home this message.

Another reason for the shift is that globalisation itself stands discredited. Several Congress leaders have made informal reference to the book Globalisation and its Discontent, written by Joseph Stiglitz who was chief economist of the World Bank and the chief economic advisor to former US president Bill Clinton.

In this context, the privatisation and subsequent de-privatisation of British Rail was cited as an example.

Also, the rate of growth of employment has considerably declined despite last decade's economic policies, according to some party leaders.

They say that even a growth in the Gross Domestic Product has not increased jobs, which belies Dr Manmohan Singh's 'Trickle Down Effect' theory.

More reports from Himachal Pradesh

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