The Congress on Thursday released its manifesto for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan.
Apart from a promise to waive off farmers’ loans within 10 days of coming to power, the party has also pledged to make education in government schools, colleges and universities free for women from all categories.
The manifesto was released two days after the BJP unveiled its manifesto, promising 50 lakh jobs and a monthly allowance up to Rs 5,000 for educated unemployed youths.
The Congress manifesto, titled Jan Ghoshna Patra, has promised an allowance up to Rs 3,500 to educated unemployed youths. It also promises to provide loans to such youths at concessional rates.
The party has also promised to pass the Journalists’ Protection Act to safeguard interest of journalists. The BJP manifesto also says it intends to bring in a law to protect journalists.
Releasing the manifesto, state Congress president Sachin Pilot said it was prepared after taking in around 2 lakh suggestions from the people. Earlier this month, the party had launched a toll free number to receive suggestions from public for the manifesto.
Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said that if the Congress comes to power, it will implement all plans of the previous government which were ‘stalled’ after BJP came to power in 2013.
In the rural sector, the Congress has said in its manifesto that it will remove the condition of minimum qualification required to contest Panchayati Raj elections. The incumbent BJP government introduced the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill 2015 in Assembly which was later made into an Act. Under the law, it was made mandatory for people contesting Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls to have passed Class X and those contesting sarpanch elections to have passed Class VII.
After BJP said in its manifesto that it plans to set up a Vedic Studies Board, the Congress has also promised in the Jan Ghoshna Patra that a Vedic Sanskar and Siksha Board will be constituted. In the health sector, the party has promised to bring in a Right to Health law to ensure quality healthcare facilities. It has also promised to increase grants for cow shelters and better facilities for stray cows.
The Congress has said it will ensure pension for elderly farmers and make all farming equipment free from GST. The party has also mentioned that if it forms the government, it will recommend to the GST Council to include petrol and diesel under the ambit of the tax. Party leaders said a manifesto implementation committee will be constituted to ensure all points in Jan Ghoshna Patra are implemented.
The BJP termed the Jan Ghoshna Patra a document that “misguides” the people. Outgoing Social Justice and Empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi said most points in the Congress manifesto are those for which the BJP government has already formulated schemes. Reacting to the promise of farmer loan waiver, Chaturvedi said the party has made its manifesto without prior preparation as the BJP government has already waived off farmers’ loans.