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Cong,NCP promise cheaper grains,loans

Maharashtra’s ruling Congress-NCP alliance is pitching for the aam aadmi as expected in next month’s Assembly polls and has unveiled a populist...

Maharashtra’s ruling Congress-NCP alliance is pitching for the aam aadmi as expected in next month’s Assembly polls and has unveiled a populist manifesto that promises foodgrains at Rs 3 per kg to BPL families,loans to farmers at an interest rate of 3 percent and targets increasing the per capita income to Rs 1 lakh per annum from Rs 55,000 within five years.

To woo Marathi voters,the manifesto promises a slew of measures to conserve and promote Marathi language on the lines of the Hindi Bhasha policy of the Central government. This would include a ‘Marathi language conservation fortnight” every year from May 1 to 15 and the appointment of a legislative panel for monitoring the use of Marathi as the official language. Besides,forts and other archaeological monuments would be repaired and protected. However,there is no mention in the manifesto of the allaince’s ambitious plan to install a giant statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea.

The controversial Srikrishna Commission report also finds no mention in the manifesto.

The joint manifesto released Friday by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre in the presence of Sushilkumar Shinde,Digvijay Singh,Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal also promises BPL families a health card that would allow them to undergo major surgeries for free.

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While foodgrains are available to BPL families at Rs 5 per kg at present,farmers currently get loans up to an amount of Rs 3 lakhs at an interest rate of 6 percent. The manifesto also promises construction of 10 lakh houses for the poor in a timebound manner in the next five years.

The manifesto also promises a 50 per cent quota in panchayats at all levels compared to the existing 33 per cent,free education for girls till graduation and boys till Class 12,interest-free loans for backward class women and the “Maher” (father’s house) scheme. Under the scheme,money would be deposited in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and the girl would get Rs 1.25 lakh for marriage or higher education on reaching adulthood.

The manifesto also promises sops for minorities,Dalits,tribals and OBCs through incentives and opportunities. While discussing a quota for Marathas,Bhujbal said that nobody was against the community getting reservation,but it had to be given separately without disturbing the existing OBC quota.

PM to visit Arunachal today


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to poll-bound Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday,his second visit in nearly two years to the state.

He will address an election meeting at Pasighat in support of party candidates for the October 13 Assembly elections.

He had last travelled to the state on his maiden visit in January last year. PTI

First published on: 03-10-2009 at 04:37:41 am
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