Do ‘Ravdis’ distributed before elections affect voters?
Lok Sabha elections are going to be held in India next year. Before this election, i.e. by the end of the year 2023, assembly elections will also be held in five states. In our country, as soon as the election date comes closer, it starts raining promises to woo the voters. Due to which a new term ‘Rewari culture’ is in discussion.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has mentioned this Revadi culture many times in his speeches and has also described this culture as a harmful tradition for the country. In such a situation, let us know in this report what is this rave culture and what effect does it have on the voters…
First let us know which states are getting the gift of free promises.
Karnataka: Assembly elections were held in Karnataka in the year 2022. Congress’s 5 guarantees in this election have spoiled the game of BJP in Karnataka. Congress’s 5 guarantees include important announcements like monthly allowance of Rs 2000 to women, unemployment allowance to youth, free electricity up to 200 units in homes.
Immediately after the Karnataka election results, Congress announced to provide LPG gas cylinder for Rs 500 and free electricity for Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. In Haryana, Congress has even promised to give free land if the government is formed.
Rajasthan: Assembly elections are going to be held in this state at the end of 2023. Before this election, Ashok Gehlot’s government in Rajasthan is providing electricity and cheap cylinders to women.
Madhya Pradesh: Like Congress, BJP is also giving Rs 1250 every month to the women of the state under the Laadli Brahmin Yojana of Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh. Apart from this, the government is providing free funds to 78 thousand students to buy laptops.
Madhya Pradesh government has announced to give Rs 2000 every year to the farmers on the lines of the Centre. Keeping in view the election environment, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath has promised to provide up to 100 units of free electricity to every family if the Congress government is formed.
Telangana: KCR government has also promised the people of this state that it will provide financial assistance to religious minorities.
Chhattisgarh: The Congress government has increased the dearness allowance of government employees in Chhattisgarh by four percent. Apart from this, all the governments are giving a lot of freebies in many different schemes.
What is Revadi culture?
According to the Reserve Bank of India, schemes which lead to weak credit culture, deterioration in prices due to subsidies, decline in private investment and low labor force participation are considered freebies.
However, there is no official definition of freebies i.e. rave culture in India. This matter is currently with the Supreme Court. The Election Commission, equivalent to the Supreme Court, had filed an affidavit in August 2022. According to the Commission, the definition of freebies changes with time and place.
where did it start from
Freebies i.e. free election promises were first used in America in the year 1920. Freebies are called rave culture. Freebies means something that is given to you for free.
Whereas in India, it was considered to have started from Tamil Nadu in the year 2006. Assembly elections were to be held in Tamil Nadu this year. During the campaign, DMK had promised to provide free color TV to all families if the government is formed.
The party’s reasoning behind the promise of giving TV was that if TV comes in every house, women will be literate. This very promise of his was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, DMK won and to fulfill its promise on forming the government, the party had released a budget of Rs 750 crore.
How is Rewari culture impacting elections?
In an election environment, free promises made to the public not only influence the outcome of elections but also prove to be helpful in bringing political parties to power. If we look at the data of the last few years, we will find that 5 announcements made during the elections have proved to be game changers in the elections.
Among these, monthly allowance and free bus travel to women, free electricity scheme, free grain scheme, Kisan Samman Nidhi and free LPG gas cylinder are the main ones.
Freebies spoiled BJP’s game in these states
Karnataka: In the Karnataka Assembly elections held in the year 2022, 5 promises made by Congress had spoiled the game of BJP. Out of 228 seats in the state, Congress won 135 seats, while BJP was reduced from 116 to 65.
According to Lokniti-CSDS survey, along with unemployment and poverty, the issue of bribery dominated this election. Keeping these issues in mind, Congress announced 5 guarantee schemes. Congress promoted these 5 guarantees as Rahul Gandhi’s promise.
Congress’s 5 guarantees included important announcements like monthly allowance of Rs 2000 to women, unemployment allowance to youth, free electricity up to 200 units in homes. On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party in its manifesto made free announcements like giving 3 LPG cylinders and half liter milk free to every family. However, it could not be very effective.
Himachal: In Himachal too, Revadi schemes caused huge losses to the Bharatiya Janata Party. BJP lost badly in the home state of the party president. Old pension scheme and 5 lakh government jobs became a big issue in Himachal. Congress, which came to power, had announced to give pension of Rs 1500 to women before the elections, which proved effective. In Himachal, Congress also announced to provide 300 units of free electricity, which acted as a game changer.
In these states too, freebies played an important role in victory and defeat.
1. Apart from Karnataka-Himachal, Rewari culture has played an important role in deciding victory and defeat in many elections. In the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party had promised to provide free scooters to college-going girls and 2 gas cylinders a year to women. This became an important factor in deciding victory or defeat in elections.
2. During the Bihar Assembly elections held in the year 2020, free corona vaccine became a big issue and the Bharatiya Janata Party announced to get the vaccine free for everyone after coming to government. This matter of free vaccine also went to the court, but the court refused to stay the announcement.
In that election, BJP got a lot of benefit from this promise and BJP became the second largest party in the state. At that time, it was also successful in forming the government with JDU.
3. Similarly, in the Bengal elections of 2021, Trinamool Congress had announced a lot of free schemes. Mamta had announced to give 12 thousand rupees annually to SC-ST category and 6 thousand rupees to lower class people. Apart from this, Trinamool had announced to deliver ration at home. Mamata Banerjee succeeded in returning to power for the third time with the help of freebies.
Apart from Bihar, UP and Bengal, free schemes proved to be a game changer in Punjab elections (2022), Delhi elections (2020) and Tamil Nadu elections (2021). AAP got clear majority in Delhi and Punjab and DMK got clear majority in Tamil Nadu.
Like Congress, BJP also announced many free schemes. Among these, the announcement of giving 3 free LPG cylinders in a year and giving scooters and bicycles to girls was prominent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also raised this issue repeatedly
In the month of August 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while referring to political parties and providing free facilities, had said, “Luring voters by making such promises is not nation building, but an attempt to push the nation backward.”
PM Modi said, “If there is selfishness in politics, then anyone can come and announce to give free petrol and diesel. Such steps will take away their rights from our children. They will prevent the country from becoming self-reliant. Such selfish policies will ruin the country. The burden of the honest taxpayer will also continue to increase. This is not a policy but an ‘immorality’. This is not in the national interest, this is a disservice to the nation.”
Even in the month of July, while inaugurating the Bundelkhand-Expressway in Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi had said, “Nowadays, every effort is being made to bring a culture of gathering votes by distributing free rewari in our country. This rewari culture is important for the development of the country.” It is very dangerous for the people of Revdi culture. People of Revdi culture think that the public will buy them by distributing free Revdi to Janardan. We have to together remove Revdi culture from the politics of the country.”
If you want then there should be rules and regulations as to how it should be done. There should also be accountability for this.”