Why PM Modi can shrug off Rahul Gandhi's populist challenge, for now

Even with a bumper tax harvest the federal government will just about meet its targeted budget deficit of 6.4% of gross domestic product for the fiscal year that ends on March 31

Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Given that it’s his last, big spending opportunity before next year’s general elections, it won’t be unreasonable to expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sprinkle the Feb. 1 government budget with a dose of populism. This is especially so, as Rahul Gandhi, his main political opponent, is on a grueling months-long trek, walking from the edge of the Indian Ocean in the south to Kashmir in the northern Himalayan region, trying to whip up passion around everyday issues like unemployment and inflation.

Yet, the budget might at best pander to the middle class by some cosmetic tinkering with income-tax slabs. I’ll be surprised if the administration suddenly decides to push mass consumption by diluting its single-minded devotion to investment. An expansion of the welfare state — better old-age security and higher maternity benefits, for instance — is equally unlikely, even though it will help Modi counter Gandhi’s accusation that hi


Also Read

As 2024 LS polls approach, Oppn parties are chopping and changing strategy

CLAT 2024 Exam Schedule: Test in December 2023; registrations to begin soon

Rahul means Bharat, Bharat means Rahul, says UP Congress chief Khabri

AIADMK may part ways with BJP, talks on for new alliances in 2024 polls

Indian embassy in China celebrates Gandhi Jayanti at Beijing's art museum

TMS Ep351: IBC overhaul, ASER alarm, Adani FPO, World Economic Forum

Election Commission orders probe into attacks on Cong bike rally in Tripura

Goa govt unanimously resolves asking Centre to withdraw Mhadei DPR

India-UAE summit to highlight manufacturing, agritech fields: Organisers

Tripura: CPM, Congress to hold rally under 'democratic, secular' banner

First Published: Jan 20 2023 | 6:28 AM IST

Explore News

To read the full story, subscribe to BS Premium now, at just Rs 249/ month.

Key stories on are available only to BS Premium subscribers. Already a BS Premium subscriber?LOGIN NOW

Register to