Seeking a fourth straight term in tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh, the BJP on Saturday promised pension to small and marginal farmers and an unemployment allowance, as the ruling party released its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly polls.
Two days before the first phase of voting on November 12, BJP president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Raman Singh released the party’s manifesto, called ‘Nava Chhattisgarh Sankalp Patra’, in Raipur, promising to continue minimum support price (MSP) for paddy, an annual Rs 300 bonus for the crop, besides subsidised rice and salt, and lowest electricity rates.
The issue of bonus for paddy had become a major talking point earlier this year. While the BJP-led government was giving Rs 300 bonus for the crop for past three years of their five-year term, the Congress promised
Rs 2,500 as price for paddy and also the two years’ bonus that the government had allegedly not paid to the farmers.
Shah also listed the achievements of the 15-year rule of the Raman Singh government in the state, and said that Chhattisgarh, which was once considered an economically and socially backward state, was now being counted among developed states.
The party has promised to give Rs 1,000 as monthly pension to small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers aged above 60, as well as 2 lakh new pump connections to cultivators in the next five years, and an unemployment allowance. It has promised to develop Raipur-Durg-Rajnandgaon-Bhilai and Atal Nagar as a state capital region.
The BJP manifesto also says that Chhattisgarh will be developed as a popular tourist destination and a film city will be created.
The Congress, which had announced its manifesto a day earlier, said there was nothing new in the BJP’s manifesto. “The BJP has repeated its promises made in the previous manifesto, which remain unfulfilled. There is nothing new in it,” Congress state communication wing chief Shailesh Nitin Trivedi reportedly told PTI.
Ajit Jogi, the chief ministerial candidate for the coalition formed by Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J), Bahujan Samaj Party and Communist Party of India, also announced their 14-point manifesto on a stamp paper and said that the party, if voted to power, would be legally committed to fulfil their promises.
The coalition promised Rs 2,500 as price for paddy, free electricity to the tune of 5 horsepower, 100-per cent reservation for local residents in government jobs, unemployment allowances of Rs 1,001 for matriculate-pass students, Rs 1,501 for graduates, and Rs 2,001 for post-graduates. They promised to bring prohibition in the state, except in Scheduled Tribe areas, and Rs 1 lakh as fixed deposit for every girl born in the state (to be made available when she turns 18).
Campaigning for the first phase of the elections concluded on Saturday. Voting for 18 constituencies will be held on November 12. The second phase of polling will be held on November 20, and counting of votes will take place on December 11.