The Congress on Saturday released its manifesto for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, promising to waive farm loans up to
Rs 2 lakh, halving farmers’ electricity dues, assuring bonus on wheat and soybean among other agriculture commodities, and trying to appease all castes.
Flanked by campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and former CM Digvijaya Singh, former Union minister and PCC chief Kamal Nath termed the manifesto “vachan patra” as against the ruling BJP’s “jumla patra” and said the 112-page document was not drafted in office but “on streets and fields” after talking to farmers, traders and youths, among other “harassed citizens”.
Nath said the party will ensure that the state is rid of prevailing corruption by drafting a law that will make giving and taking bribes a cognizable and non-bailable offence, besides setting a 30-day deadline to file charge-sheet. The law will also take into account giving benefits to the ineligible, delaying resolution of complaints and suppressing information. Special courts will be set up for implementation of the law, he said.
It also promises bicameral system in MP by constituting a legislative council.
The manifesto promises not to keep bureaucrats at one place for more than three years. It will be mandatory for newly elected public representatives and officials to declare their income and assets and submit an affidavit on their source of income, which will become the basis for impounding property found disproportionate to income.
The document promises to set up a people’s commission with representation from experts, educationists, journalists and women to probe alleged frauds like dumper scam, Vyapam scam, electricity scam, and e-tendering, tree plantation and government advertisements under BJP rule between 2008 and 2018.
However, the party’s main focus is on agriculture, given discontent among farmers over falling prices. Of the 973 points in the document, 133 are for agriculture and farmers.
Declaring that crops will not be allowed to be sold below MSP in mandis, the document promises bonus on wheat, paddy, soybean, mustard, cotton, moong, chana, urad, sugarcane and onion among 17 agriculture commodities and also a Rs 5 bonus on milk.
A new crop insurance scheme, implementation of the Land Acquisition Act, 2014 in its original version, another judicial probe into the Mandsaur firing case, reducing mandi fees and soft loans for unemployed youths from farmers’ families are among the slew of promises made by the Congress.
The document promises to close Vyapam, the Hindi acronym for the state’s professional examination board, and introduce a transparent and decentralised system for recruitment to government posts. It also promises to refund fees paid between 2008 and 2018 by students for examinations conducted by Vyapam and other bodies.
In keeping with the Made in Madhya Pradesh theme of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the document promises a special package for industries that invest more than Rs 100 crore.
The party has promised to ensure representation of Scheduled Castes in constitutional and statutory bodies like the state human rights commission, state information commission and state election commission. It also promises to ensure that tribals enjoy their rights and constitutional provisions are implemented. For general categories, it promises to constitute Samanya Varga Aayog and increase income ceiling from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 6 lakh for scholarships to students from this category.