Thrust on farm­ers, poor, youth in Cong man­i­festo

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htnation - Punya Priya Mi­tra let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

POLL PROM­ISES An­nounces to waive farmer loans up to ~2 lakh; land for the home­less BHOPAL:;

The Congress un­veiled a please-all man­i­festo on Satur­day, promis­ing to waive loans of up to ~ 2 lakh owed by farm­ers, end cor­rup­tion, build cow shel­ters and push ‘made in Mad­hya Pradesh’ goods as it seeks to end the 15-year rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state in next month’s assem­bly elec­tions.

The party also promised to close down Vya­pam, the state’s re­cruit­ment cum ad­mis­sion board that has been em­broiled in a multi-crore scam that sur­faced in July 2013 with rev­e­la­tions that un­de­serv­ing can­di­dates se­cured high ranks by ei­ther get­ting prox­ies to im­per­son­ate them in tests or through cheat­ing by other means. The scam in­volved a clique of politi­cians and bu­reau­crats that fa­cil­i­tated the fraud in ex­change for bribes, in­ves­ti­ga­tors have said.

State Congress pres­i­dent Ka­mal Nath po­si­tioned the 112page man­i­festo as a “Vachan Pa­tra” (prom­ises doc­u­ment) as again­st­the“Jum­la­P­a­tra” (false prom­ises doc­u­ment) of the BJP. The man­i­festo promised a fair deal to all sec­tions of so­ci­ety, be it farm­ers, women, stu­dents, the un­em­ployed, trib­als or Dal­its.

“We will re­duce the elec­tric­ity bill of farm­ers by 50%, re­duce diesel and petrol prices and open gausha­las (cow shel­ters) in every gram pan­chayat,” Nath said. Head of the state Congress cam­paign com­mit­tee Jy­oti­ra­ditya Scin­dia promised time­bound im­ple­men­ta­tion of all prom­ises. Other se­nior lead­ers in­clud­ing head of Congress co­or­di­na­tion com­mit­tee Digvi­jaya Singh, leader of the op­po­si­tion in the assem­bly Ajay Singh, and for­mer state Congress pres­i­dent Arun Ya­dav were present at the man­i­festo’s un­veil­ing .

The Congress is hop­ing to stage a come­back in the state that has been un­der the BJP rule since 2003 and where Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been chief min­is­ter since 2005. The BJP won a thump­ing ma­jor­ity in the 230-mem­ber state assem­bly in 2013. Elec­tions to the Mad­hya Pradesh assem­bly will be held on November 28. Votes will be counted on December 11, to­gether with those cast in elec­tions in four other states -Ch­hat­tis­garh, Ra­jasthan, Mi­zo­ram and Te­lan­gana .

The Congress promised farm­ers, who have been the main fo­cus of the prin­ci­pal con­tes­tants amid wide­spread farm dis­tress,a bonus for al­most all ce­re­als, lentils and veg­eta­bles like onion, tomato and gar­lic pro­duced by them, a bonus of ~5 per liter for milk and a new crop pol­icy, apart from the loan waiver and sub­sidy in power tar­iffs.

For the poor, it promised an en­hanced so­cial se­cu­rity pen­sion of ~1,000; and ~2.5 lakh and 450 sq feet of land for the home­less. Women would re­ceive free ed­u­ca­tion till Phd and ~51,000 for mar­riage.

Girls who se­cure 70% marks in the 12th board ex­am­i­na­tion will be given a lap­top. The party promised an un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit of ~4,000 per month for three years, and a wage sub­sidy of ~10,000 to those pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment.

The man­i­festo was pre­pared by a team headed by se­nior Congress leader Ra­jen­dra Singh, who is also deputy speaker of the Assem­bly. The other mem­bers are MP Vivek Tankha, for­mer MP Meenakshi Natara­jan, for­mer min­is­ter Naren­dra Na­hata and Viren­dra Ku­mar Batham.

BJP na­tional vice-pres­i­dent Prab­hat Jha called the man­i­festo a “Jhoot Ka Pulinda” (A bag of lies). “Since they are not go­ing to win, they can prom­ise any­thing they want. More­over, we are al­ready im­ple­ment­ing many of the promised schemes for farm­ers and women,” he said.

Re­tired head of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence from Sa­gar Univer­sity G P Nema said fi­nances could be a chal­lenge in ful­fill­ing the prom­ises. “The real test would be in im­ple­men­ta­tion as the state cof­fers are empty,” he said.

PTI

Congress lead­ers at­tend the re­lease of man­i­festo for the up­com­ing Mad­hya Pradesh Assem­bly elec­tions, at PCC head­quar­ters in Bhopal, Satur­day.

PTI

Ch­hat­tis­garh chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh (third from left), BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah (fifth from left) and other party lead­ers re­lease party man­i­festo for up­com­ing Assem­bly polls, in Raipur, Satur­day.

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