10 Things To Know About The “Freebies” Case In Supreme Court

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A case is being heard on freebies promises by political parties in poll campaigns

New Delhi:
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Reddy is the latest to step in as the Supreme Court hears a petition seeking to stop politicians from promising freebies during elections.

Here is your 10-point guide to the “freebies” case:

  1. Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that ruling parties must be punished if they rush through welfare schemes just before elections. The intent of such parties is to “mock democracy”, the party said.

  2. At the same time, the YSR Congress told the Supreme Court that an elected government has the responsibility to deliver schemes to end poverty, provide healthcare, education and jobs. Everything cannot be generalised as “freebies”, the party said.

  3. Only the ruling parties of Delhi and Tamil Nadu – the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and DMK – had argued till now against the petition by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who wants political parties to stop promising freebies during election campaigns.

  4. The Supreme Court asked the Centre what “freebies” really meant and told AAP and DMK to reply.

  5. In his petition filed in January, Ashwini Upadhyay opposes parties promising sops and suggests that the Election Commission cancel the registration of such parties.

  6. The case comes in the middle of political sparring over the term “Revdi (sweet) culture” used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deride parties prone to offering freebies.

  7. While inaugurating an expressway in Uttar Pradesh last month, PM Modi warned against “Revdi culture” and said it could be “very dangerous” for the country as it could freeze development.

  8. Delhi’s ruling AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal immediately hit back at the Prime Minister. AAP said free water, electricity, healthcare or world-class primary education are not “Revdis”. The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi runs a free power scheme, among other welfare measures.

  9. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked states doling out freebies to check their fiscal strength and make room in the budget for their election promises. 

  10. “You may promise something… but make sure you understand the financial level of your state, the fiscal strength of your state and having promised it during the election, you won, you come back, ensure that you fulfil it because you have given a word and how, by making sure that your budget will have a provision for it,” Ms Sitharaman said at an event organised by the BJP’s economic cell in Bengaluru. The Supreme Court will be take up the case next on August 22 (Monday).

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