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
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.
BJP president Amit Shah, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and party leaders at the release of the party manifesto in Raipur, Saturday.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, on poll campaign in Chhattisgarh, meets tribal artistes in Jagdalpur on Saturday.