The grand old party of Congress is a paradox in study. It says one thing, believes in a totally different thing but at last, does what it preaches not to. The party devoid of any commanding figure at the helm of affairs on Saturday accused the government that it was doing ‘injustice’ to retailers by allowing e-commerce platforms to deliver essential and non-essential items.
The Union government after the first phase of lockdown ended on April 14th had issued detailed guidelines allowing e-commerce companies to start their full-fledged operations from April 20 amidst the nationwide lockdown that has been now extended till May 3rd.
Under the first phase of lockdown between March 24 and April 14, the Centre had only allowed delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment through e-commerce platforms.
However, soon after the MHA announcement on April 15, some retailers registered their grievances with the government stating that a level playing field for the small retailers should be mustered up as they have been hit hard in wake of the lockdowns. Consequently, taking cognizance of the apprehensions raised—the government in a notification dated April 19 announced that only the supply of non-essential goods by the e-commerce companies will be prohibited. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the order excluding the non-essential items from the cart of e-commerce companies.
The order by the MHA brought parity between the regular and online shops as now both categories are allowed to sell only essential items and not allowed to sell non-essential items till the lockdown remains in force.
While senior Congress leader Ajay Maken went on blabbering and accusing the Modi government of favoring the e-commerce companies– states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan where the Congress party is in power has itself allowed the e-commerce services to deliver non-essential goods. The two states have issued notifications giving permission to Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and other e-commerce giants and logistics firms to operate and provide both essential and non-essential goods.
The MHA guidelines are liberal and the states have the authority to make them stricter and therefore if any state does not issue any further notification, the MHA guideline is followed as the de facto one.
But since Maharashtra and Rajasthan were among the first states which issued their separate notifications, they are subsequently going ahead with their plan to allow the e-commerce companies to operate at full capacity, thereby contradicting Maken’s statement.
Congress before advising others needs to get its house in order and practice what they preach. The Union government has been fighting the pandemic on a war-footing whereas the Congress party is still engaging in petty politics in order to gain some measly brownie points. Congress is denying level playing field to retailers in its own states but still claims the moral high ground to dictate what the center should do.
The hypocrisy of the party is ludicrous, to say the least, but what else is expected from the party whose top brass leader Rahul Gandhi makes invalidated claims and lies about making Wayanad a coronavirus free zone.