‘Black Paper Vs White Paper’: Cong Counters BJP Doc on UPA’s Economic Blunders, But Will it be Enough?

Congress President Mallikarjun releases the black paper against the BJP, during a press conference in New Delhi on February 8. (Image: PTI/Arun Sharma)

Congress President Mallikarjun releases the black paper against the BJP, during a press conference in New Delhi on February 8. (Image: PTI/Arun Sharma)

The black paper released by Congress gives statistics on sectors that met a downfall under PM Narendra Modi, while the Centre’s white paper is a direct attack on Manmohan Singh, under whom, the BJP said, the economy was in the doldrums

It’s black versus white – the colour code for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. As the BJP-led Centre released a white paper on the previous UPA government’s economic mismanagement of 10 years, the Congress countered it early on Thursday with a “black paper”.

Released by national president Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress called the document ‘10 Saal Anyay Kaal 2014 to 2024’. It gives statistics on every sector, which has seen a downfall under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The grand old party has highlighted rampant unemployment, economic blunders, the faulty Goods and Services Tax, job cuts, farmer distress, corporate favouritism, crime against women among others.

Ironically, the white paper and the black paper were both released on a day when the prime minister bid farewell to his predecessor Manmohan Singh, who retired from the Rajya Sabha.

“It is like a ‘kala tika’ for my government, so that no harm comes to it,” Prime Minister Modi said, in response to the black paper. He also referred to a recent “black dress protest” by the INDIA bloc.

The white paper is a full-blown attack on the former prime minister as it shows that the economy was in the doldrums under him, even though he was a prominent economist. Even more, the attacks on former Congress president Sonia Gandhi also make the point that the corruption in her family had ensured that ministers flourished while the ‘aam aadmi’ suffered.

It is clear that in 2024, too, the PM is bringing the focus and narrative back on economy and corruption. This serves many purposes – one, it will rebut the point made by the Congress-led opposition that the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandi is a diversion tactic from the state of the economy; second, that 10 years is a good matrix to show the contrast.

In an earlier interview to News18, PM Modi had said he did not want to focus much on the economic distress when he took charge as it would have discouraged investors. All this has changed now as India has earned a good place globally.

The fulcrum of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is to provide justice to the poor and common man. The last thing the Congress can afford is a narrative against Rahul Gandhi that when his party was in power at the Centre for 10 years, it could not provide any kind of ‘nyay’ or justice.

Kharge, while releasing the black paper, said, “The PM is silent on these issues we have raised. Why? Why does he blame Nehru? Tell us what he has done now, he is in power.”

The government hopes to silence the Congress with the white paper and make the future look dark for them. The Congress, meanwhile, is searching for a ray of light through the black paper.

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