Parties compete to pack manifestoes with sops
Money takes a back seat as the word ‘free’ pays key role
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.