Par­ties com­pete to pack man­i­festoes with sops

Money takes a back seat as the word ‘free’ pays key role

Deccan Chronicle - - POLITICS -

The sanc­tity of pub­lic money is not the cri­te­ria for po­lit­i­cal par­ties but how to at­tract peo­ple with as­sur­ances of pro­vid­ing most things “free” in a bid to win power in the elec­tions is more im­por­tant. The three main par­ties that are draft­ing their man­i­festoes for the De­cem­ber 7 elec­tions — TRS, Congress and BJP — are aim­ing to prom­ise many free sops on the peo­ple in ad­di­tion to sev­eral fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits.

Quite iron­i­cally, while plan­ning the grand prom­ises, each of the par­ties is crit­i­cis­ing the prom­ises made by the oth­ers as be­ing too ex­pen­sive.

So far, TPCC pres­i­dent N. Ut­tam Ku­mar Reddy has made some as­sur­ances with re­gard to what the party will of­fer if it forms gov­ern­ment. TS BJP man­i­festo com­mit­tee chair­man N.V.V.S. Prabhakar Rao has also made some prom­ises in­clud­ing pay­ing house rent for peo­ple.

Re­act­ing to the as­sur­ances of Mr Reddy, TRS leader K.T. Rama Rao said not even the an­nual bud­gets of the south­ern states would not be enough to pay for them. But Mr Reddy replied that the party had done a very care­ful anal­y­sis of what the peo­ple want and what the Bud­get can af­ford. He said that the Congress had worked with fi­nan­cial ex­perts be­fore draw­ing up its plans.

On the BJP’s prom­ise of pay­ing house rent for the poor, Mr Rama Rao said the BJP had promised in 2014 that it would credit `15 lakh into the bank ac­count of ev­ery poor per­son across the coun­try af­ter bring­ing back black money stashed in other coun­tries. He said if the BJP-led NDA gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre ac­tu­ally cred­ited `15 lakh into peo­ple’s bank ac­counts, they would pay the rent for the BJP lead­ers.

The TRS is still work­ing on its man­i­festo, but TRS pres­i­dent and care­taker Chief Min­is­ter K. Chan­drasekhar Rao had made some prom­ises at his Nizam­abad and Nal­go­nda pub­lic meet­ings.

Some of these show the in­flu­ence of the Congress’ as­sur­ances.

As against the TPCC prom­ise of dou­bling all so­cial wel­fare pen­sions un­der the Aasara scheme, Mr Chan­drasekhar Rao said the TRS would in­crease the pen­sions. He did not an­nounce the quan­tum of in­crease. The pen­sion presently stands at `1,000. TRS sources said the in­crease would be in the range of about `500.

The TPCC has an­nounced con­tin­u­ing the 2BHK scheme but in­stead of con­struct­ing the houses it will give ben­e­fi­cia­ries the money if they have their own site. At the Nal­go­nda pub­lic meet­ing, Mr Chan­drasekhar Rao also an­nounced a sim­i­lar mea­sure but did not men­tion the money to be given to ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Mean­while, the Congress and the BJP are crit­i­cis­ing the TRS as­sur­ances given dur­ing the pre­vi­ous elec­tions, say­ing that the TRS pri­or­i­ties are wrong and they are not prac­ti­ca­ble.

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