OPERATED BY CEJ

False

FACT-CHECKED

by CEJ |

Congress party manifesto doesn’t mention redistributing property, jewellery among Muslims as alleged by Modi

On April 19, 2024, Indian premier Narendra Modi alleged that the Indian National Congress’s manifesto promises redistribution of personal wealth to the Muslim community after a survey. However, the Congress party manifesto mentions so such thing.

Claim

Congress party’s manifesto mentions redistributing property, jewellery to Muslims

Rating Justification

The iVerify Pakistan team has checked this content and has established that it is false.

To arrive at this verdict, the iVerify Pakistan team has checked the Indian National Congress’s manifesto for the 2024 elections and past statements of former premier Manmohan Singh.

HOW IT STARTED

On April 21, 2024, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an election rally in Banswara, Rajasthan.

At the 26:50-minute mark, Modi said:

“What the Congress has said in its manifesto is worrying and serious … they have said that if Congress government is formed then everyone’s property will be surveyed, including gold of our sisters and silver of residents, and not this, what else have they said?

The gold belonging to women, and their other wealth will be distributed to everyone … our sister’s ‘mangal sutra’ is not just a small gold shiny object but is associated with her life’s dreams. You are talking about snatching that away in your manifesto […] Earlier, when they (Congress party) were in power, they had said that Muslims have the first right to the wealth of the nation. This means they will distribute this wealth to those who have more children, to infiltrators. Should your hard-earned money be given to infiltrators?”

The claim was widely circulated in Indian media and news outlets. The entire address was also shared on Modi’s official YouTube channel and on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s official YouTube channel, with 154,000 and 76,000 views, respectively.

METHODOLOGY

The iVerify Pakistan team sought to determine the veracity of the claim due to its higher virality and since the claim targeted India’s vulnerable Muslim minority during the Indian election campaign.

Regarding Modi’s claim about the Congress manifesto mentioning the redistribution of wealth to Muslims after a survey, the team investigated the manifesto.

The only mention of such a survey or exercise was in the ‘Equity’ chapter of the manifesto which said in its first point: “Congress will conduct a nation-wide socioeconomic and caste census to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. Based on the data, we will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action”.

Point 6 for the sub-chapter on religious and linguistic minorities said: “We will ensure that the minorities receive their fair share of opportunities in education, healthcare, public employment, public works contracts, skill development, sports, and cultural activities without discrimination.”

Perusing through the manifesto, no reference was found to the alleged redistribution of gold, silver, or property among Muslims after a survey as alleged by the Indian prime minister.

Regarding his claim that the Congress in power had asserted that Muslims had the first right to wealth, a keyword search showed it was a reference to a 2006 speech by former Indian premier Manmohan Singh.

As per a report by The Times of India on December 9, 2006, Singh had said during the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council: “We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources.”

Further research showed his comments had caused controversy even then, prompting the Indian prime minister’s office to issue a clarification on Dec 10, 2006.

Titled “Clarifications on PM’s reference to “First Claim On Resources”, the text is reproduced in full below:

“Through a deliberate and mischievous misinterpretation of what the prime minister said here yesterday at the meeting of the National Development Council, on fiscal priorities of the government, an avoidable controversy has been generated. The prime minister’s observations have also been quoted out of context in some sections of the electronic media, fuelling a baseless controversy.

The full text of the paragraph in which the prime minister referred to the issue of minority empowerment to clarify the matter is as follows:

‘I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalised. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the over-all resource availability.’

It will be seen from the above that the prime minister’s reference to ‘first claim on resources’ refers to all the ‘priority’ areas listed above, including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children and minorities.

It may also be noted that these observations of the prime minister were made after referring to the very good performance of the Indian economy in recent months, and the expectation that the economy would continue to do well, creating new income and employment opportunities for all sections of society. While better off sections of society will benefit from this process, it is the responsibility of the government to pay special attention to the welfare of weaker and marginalised sections. The prime minister has said on several occasions that ‘India must shine, but shine for all’.”

BACKGROUND

India is about to close the world’s largest democratic exercise, with a seven-phase general election underway. Spanning from April 19th to June 1st, over a billion registered voters are participating to elect members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.

During his campaign, Modi has often taken to flinging allegations at the Congress party and targeting the Muslim community in campaign speeches.

CONCLUSION

The iVerify Pakistan team has determined that the various claims made by Modi in his speech at an election rally in Rajasthan pertaining to Congress redistributing wealth to Muslims and having asserted the first right of the Muslim community to resources in a previous government term vary from false to being misleading.

Investigating the Congress manifesto yielded nothing on a survey to measure wealth and personal belongings in the lead-up to a redistribution scheme for the Muslim community. The relevant claim by Modi is thus false.

Meanwhile, investigating former premier Singh’s December 2006 speech in its entirety shows that the then-prime minister was referring to India’s minorities and vulnerable segments as a whole having the first right to resources, instead of the Muslim community in particular. The relevant claim by Modi is thus misleading.

Evidence and References

Indian National Congress manifesto:
https://manifesto.inc.in/en/equity/

Indian PMO December 10, 2006, statement:
https://archivepmo.nic.in/drmanmohansingh/press-details.php?nodeid=516