Bat­tered Cong may line up sops for Haryana con­test

Farm Loan Waiver, 33% Job Quota For Women On The List Tripura Cong chief quits

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Su­[email protected] times­ Amava Bhat­tacharya

New Delhi: In the com­ing tough con­test against the rul­ing BJP in Haryana, Congress is seek­ing to am­plify its pop­ulist tone with a slew of loan waivers and sub­sidised loans to key so­cial groups in the state.

The Congress man­i­festo is likely to prom­ise a loan waiver for farm­ers, with fo­cus on co­op­er­a­tive bod­ies like land mort­gage banks and co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties. Farm­ers bor­row a sub­stan­tial chunk of money from such es­tab­lish­ments and the party is learnt to be ex­am­in­ing the cut-off amount for amnesty.

A sim­i­lar waiver may be promised on bank loans owed by the sched­uled castes. This loan seg­ment is said to be sub­stan­tial and, party lead­ers ar­gue, would have a good trac­tion with Dal­its, the strong so­cial de­mo­graphic on whom Congress is bank­ing heav­ily for com­ing elec­tions. Congress re­cently ap­pointed Ku­mari Selja, a se­nior Dalit leader, as its state unit pres­i­dent.

The Congress panel to draft the elec­tion man­i­festo re­cently dis­cussed the pos­si­ble pol­icy prom­ises.

For the bat­tered Congress, the man­i­festo is a cru­cial weapon in its cam­paign quiver in the face-off against an en­trenched BJP, which is backed by favourable so­cial equa­tions in the state and a pos­i­tive po­lit­i­cal mood af­ter the Lok Sabha tri­umph.

Congress lead­ers hope that tar­geted prom­ises would help in woo­ing so­cial groups to the party fold.

Sources said Congress may prom­ise 33% job quota for women in the state. It would mean that one-third of Tripura

Congress chief Pradyot Deb Bur­man quit the party on Tues­day, say­ing he had been “hu­mil­i­ated” by the “old guard” for stress­ing the need for an NRC ex­er­cise in the state. Deb Bur­man, a scion of the Tripura royal fam­ily, told that he “felt lost” with­out Rahul Gandhi as Congress pres­i­dent. Deb Bur­man’s res­ig­na­tion from the pri­mary mem­ber­ship of the party comes ex­actly a week af­ter he had in­di­cated that Congress’s stance against the NRC would force him to put in his pa­pers. the pub­lic em­ploy­ment would be manda­to­rily ear­marked for women.

In a first of sorts, the op­po­si­tion party is mulling pay­ing in­surance money for busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments with a turnover of over Rs 1 crore.

A clutch of sub­sidised loans are also on the anvil, sources said.

The party may prom­ise to pro­vide in­ter­est sub­ven­tion on loans to back­ward com­mu­ni­ties and ex­tremely back­ward com­mu­ni­ties, with a pos­si­ble dead­line of five years to re­turn the money. It may also pledge that if Congress is voted to power, the youth would be able to bor­row money for self-em­ploy­ment at very low in­ter­est rates.


Haryana ex-CM Bhupinder Hooda with state Congress chief Ku­mari Selja

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