The Congress manifesto, announced on Friday, promised a Rs 2,500 monthly stipend for 10 lakh unemployed youth in the state who would be engaged in “community service and social work”.
The manifesto also promised prohibition in areas other than the tribal areas of Surguja and Bastar, where the gram panchayat will reserve the right to take the decision, as well as a loan waiver within 10 days of the formation of government.
The manifesto was drawn up by the Congress after a statewide Jan Ghoshna Patra campaign in which, led by chairperson of the manifesto committee T S Singhdeo, Congress leaders met organisations and people across districts over a period of at least three months.
On Friday, the manifesto was released by Congress president Rahul Gandhi with senior Congress leaders Bhupesh Baghel, Singhdeo, Charandas Mahant and Rajnandgaon candidate Karuna Shukla by his side. With a day to go for campaigning for the first phase to end, the BJP is yet to announce a manifesto.
The Congress’s 36-point manifesto began with the oft-iterated promise of a loan waiver within 10 days, and Rs 2,500 per quintal of paddy. The issue of the price of paddy is dominating the state, with the state government falling short of its promise of a Rs 2,100 support price and Rs 300 bonus for paddy, promised by the BJP in 2013.
In Rajnandgaon on Friday, Rahul said the Congress would “help out the BJP” by paying farmers two years of bonuses that were not given in the Raman Singh tenure. The Congress also announced rates for maize, soyabean, sugarcane and millets in its manifesto.
The party campaign also spoke of both universal healthcare and universal education, promising free healthcare, medicines and consultancy. It also promised that the right to education will be applied till class 12, and free education for students will be given till the postgraduation level.
The manifesto also promised regularisation of government jobs for unregularised government workers and stopping of “outsourcing” of government jobs.