Ch­hat­tis­garh ready for 1st phase Rahul, CM bat­tle it out over graft charges, de­vel­op­ment

BJP MAN­I­FESTO Farm sops, end to Maoist men­ace, hos­pi­tals key prom­ises

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

RAIPUR: Two days be­fore Ch­hat­tis­garh votes in the first phase on November 12, BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah and chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh re­leased the party’s man­i­festo for the state on Satur­day, promis­ing to make it Maoist­free and of­fer­ing sops to farm­ers.

Ti­tled Sankalp Pa­tra, the man­i­festo promised pen­sion to small and mar­ginal farm­ers, to set up multi-spe­cialty hos­pi­tals and to make Ch­hat­tis­garh a Maoist-free state. It was re­leased a day af­ter the Congress in its man­i­festo said it would waive farm­ers’ loans, en­sure min­i­mum sup­port price for crops as per the Swami­nathan Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tions and ban sale of liquor.

Singh hit out at Congress for of­fer­ing sops to farm­ers and said, “Congress had al­ways con­sid­ered farm­ers as its vote bank. The party was re­spon­si­ble for the pa­thetic con­di­tion of farm­ers. When Congress was in power from 2004 to 2014, it did not think about im­ple­ment­ing Swami­nathan Com­mit­tee re­port but now they are talk­ing about it.”

Small and mar­ginal farm­ers as well as land­less agri­cul­tural labour­ers aged above 60 years will get pen­sion of ~1000 per month. Two lakh new pump con­nec­tions will be given to farm­ers in the next five years, Singh said.

The man­i­festo also promised to pur­chase pulses and lentils at min­i­mum sup­port prices and to de­velop the state in or­ganic farm­ing. It promised in­ter­est-free loans upto ~2 lakh to women for set­ting up busi­ness and of ~5 lakh to self help groups.

District hos­pi­tals will be de­vel­oped as multi-spe­cialty hos­pi­tals while a su­per spe­cialty hospi­tal each will be set up in Am­bika­pur and Jag­dalpur, Singh said.

The man­i­festo also talked of a new univer­sity to pro­mote Hindi and Ch­hat­tis­garh lan­guages, be­sides med­i­cal al­lowance of ~1000 per month to pensioners. Ch­hat­tis­garh will be de­vel­oped as a pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion and a film city will be cre­ated, he said. The BJP also said it would open cow sanc­tu­ar­ies in all divi­sions of the state to im­prove milk yield.

List­ing the achieve­ments of Singh’s 15-year rule, Shah said Ch­hat­tis­garh, once con­sid­ered a Bi­maru state, was now be­ing counted among the de­vel­oped states. Bi­maru — an acro­nym formed from the names of Bi­har, MP, Ra­jasthan, and UP — was coined in the mid-1980s to re­fer to the poor eco­nomic con­di­tions within those states.

“Congress had left the state with ~9,000 crore bud­get in 2003, which has now in­creased to ~83,000 crore. It is the only state which wit­nessed a ten­fold hike in the bud­get in 15 years,” said Shah.

The state has emerged as a ce­ment, power, steel and ed­u­ca­tion hub un­der the Ra­man Singh govern­ment and was now be­ing con­verted into a dig­i­tal hub.

How­ever, Congress state com­mu­ni­ca­tion wing chief Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said: “The BJP has re­peated its prom­ises made in the pre­vi­ous man­i­festo, which re­mained un­ful­filled. There is noth­ing new in it.” RAIPUR: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Ch­hat­tis­garh chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh were locked in a war of words over cor­rup­tion charges on the last day of cam­paign­ing for the first phase of polls in the state, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is look­ing to se­cure a fourth straight term.

Speak­ing in Kanker, Gandhi tar­geted the CM on cor­rup­tion and said ~5,000 crore had van­ished in an al­leged chit fund scam. “Sixty peo­ple died, 310 FIRS were reg­is­tered, but no­body went to jail be­cause the chief min­ster did not want ac­tion to be taken,” he al­leged.

The Congress chief fur­ther charged that ~36,000 crore were stolen in the al­leged pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem scam and claimed there were doc­u­ments to prove Singh’s in­volve­ment in it. He also re­it­er­ated his al­le­ga­tion that Singh’s son and Lok Sabha mem­ber Ab­hishek Singh’s name had ap­peared in the Panama pa­pers.

Hit­ting back in an in­ter­view to PTI, Singh said Gandhi did not know any­thing about Ch­hat­tis­garh and that his ral­lies would not help the Congress draw any sig­nif­i­cant votes. He also said Gandhi’s pres­ence would not dent the BJP’S poll prospects but might prove detri­men­tal to his own party.

Singh, who claimed that Ch­hat­tis­garh has be­come a de­vel­oped state in 15-year BJP’S rule, termed Ajit Jogi and BSP al­liance as “self­ish coali­tion” that will im­pact the Congress more than the BJP. “Rahul does not know any­thing about Ch­hat­tis­garh. The peo­ple of Ch­hat­tis­garh do not take him se­ri­ously. He is an en­ter­tain­ment for them,” he said.

Gandhi claimed that in the 15 years since Singh had been in power, four mil­lion young peo­ple had re­mained un­em­ployed, there was no ir­ri­ga­tion on 65% land and 56,000 acres land was snatched from tribal peo­ple. “Once the Congress comes to power, every fam­ily that does not own land will be given land,” Gandhi added.

Singh re­buffed this claim and said Ch­hat­tis­garh has de­vel­oped on all fronts. “Ch­hat­tis­garh used to be a back­ward stage. In 15-year BJP rule, it has be­come one of the de­vel­oped states. We are grow­ing at a great pace and will soon be among top five de­vel­oped states of In­dia,” he said.

The 90-mem­ber assem­bly will go to the polls in two phases — on November 12 and November 20 — and the results will be an­nounced on December 11. The BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39 and the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party and in­de­pen­dent one each in the last assem­bly polls in 2013.

PTI

BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah, Ch­hat­tis­garh CM Ra­man Singh and party lead­ers at the re­lease of the party man­i­festo in Raipur, Satur­day.

PTI

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on poll cam­paign in Ch­hat­tis­garh, meets tribal artistes in Jag­dalpur on Satur­day.

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