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Garibi Hatao (Meaning "Abolish Poverty" in Hindi) was the theme and slogan of Indira Gandhi's 1971 election bid and later also used by her son Rajiv Gandhi. The slogan and the proposed anti-poverty programs that came with it were designed to give Gandhi an independent national support, based on rural and urban poor. This would allow her to by-pass the dominate rural castes both in and of state and local government; likewise the urban commercial class. And, for their part, the previously voiceless poor would at last gain both political worth and political weight.

The programs created through garibi hatao, though carried out locally, were funded, developed, supervised, and staffed by New Delhi and the Congress Party. All in all, garibi hatao did little and accomplished less: only about 4% of all funds allocated for economic development went to the three main anti-poverty programs, and precious few of these ever reached the 'poorest of the poor', but it did help secure Gandhi's election.


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