Do ‘Ravdis’ distributed before elections affect voters?

In India next year Lok Sabha elections are going to be held. 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 under discussion. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has mentioned this Rewari 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 also promised to give free land if the government is formed. 

Rajasthan: In this state Assembly elections are going to be held at the end of the year 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, 78 thousand students are being provided free money by the government 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."text-align: justify;">Telangana: The 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 Rewari 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."text-align: justify;">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."text-align: justify;">Where did it start 

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. 

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 to every house, women will be literate. This promise of theirs was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, DMK won and to fulfill its promise on forming the government, the party released a budget of Rs 750 crore. 

How is Revadi culture impacting the elections 

In the election environment, free promises made to the public not only influence the outcome of the elections but also prove to be helpful in bringing political parties to power. If you look at the data of the last few years, you will find that 5 announcements made during the elections have proved to be game changers in the elections.

These include monthly allowance and free bus travel for women, free electricity scheme, free grain scheme, Kisan Samman Nidhi and free LPG gas cylinder.

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 Decreased 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. 

5 guarantees of Congress 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 was not very effective.

Himachal: In Himachal too, Revadi schemes caused huge loss 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 worked as a game changer.

In these states too, freebies played an important role in victory and defeat

1. Apart from Karnataka-Himachal, Revadi 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 also proved to be a game changer in Punjab elections (2022), Delhi elections (2020) and Tamil Nadu elections (2021). AAP got a clear majority in Delhi and Punjab and DMK got a clear majority in Tamil Nadu."text-align: justify;">Like Congress, BJP also announced many free schemes. Among these, the announcement of giving 3 free LPG cylinders in a year and giving scooty and bicycle to girls was prominent. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also raised this issue repeatedly 

Prime Minister in the month of August 2022

PM Modi said, "If there is selfishness in politics then anyone can come and announce to give free petrol and diesel also. Such steps will take away their rights from our children. Will prevent the country from becoming self-reliant. Due to such selfish policies, the burden of the honest taxpayer of the country will also increase. This is not a policy but an immorality. This is not 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 food in our country. This Revdi culture is very dangerous for the development of the country. People of Revdi culture think that the public will buy Janardan by distributing free Revdi to him. Together we have to remove the reverie culture from the politics of the country."

If you want then there should be rules and regulations for how it should be. There should also be accountability for this."

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