Karnataka elections: Farm thrust in BJP manifesto, Congress says copy of theirs

Karnataka elections: Siddaramaiah, for his part, said the BJP had repeated schemes and promises mentioned in the Congress manifesto released late last month.

Written by Apurva | Bengaluru | Updated: May 5, 2018 8:40:38 am
Karnataka elections: Farm thrust in BJP manifesto, Congress says copy of theirs Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa speaking at the release of the party’s manifesto for the upcoming assembly polls in Bengaluru on Friday. (Source: PTI)

A white paper to prove financial mismanagement by the ruling Congress government, and heavy emphasis on agriculture and farm loans, cow slaughter ban, and issues like temples and women empowerment form the bedrock of the BJP manifesto.

Releasing the BJP manifesto Friday, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said all sections of society and their aspirations were incorporated, with the manifesto prepared after taking suggestions from people in all 224 seats.

For farmers, the 64-page document promises: “Crop loan waiver up to Rs 1 lakh, including all loans from nationalised banks and cooperatives, in our first Cabinet meeting.” Yeddyurappa said: “Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been saying everywhere that the Centre should waive farm loans. In our manifesto, we have clearly spelled out that loans up to Rs 1 lakh will be waived off as soon as I become CM.”

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Siddaramaiah, for his part, said the BJP had repeated schemes and promises mentioned in the Congress manifesto released late last month. “The BJP had released a manifesto in 2008; at the end of their term, they didn’t fulfil 90% of it. Now they’ve released another one and they have repeated things we have said,” he said.“They lie to people. They say they’ll waive loans of Rs 1 lakh, then why has the Centre not done it yet?” he said.

The BJP manifesto states that the BJP will spend Rs 1.5 lakh crore on irrigation projects in the state, which will be completed by 2023 and that farmers will get 1.5 times the cost of production as minimum support price. The BJP also announced a market intervention fund of Rs 5,000 crore to help farmers tide price fluctuations as well as accident insurance of up to Rs 2 lakh for landless agriculture labourers and a Rs 100 crore scholarship fund for children of farmers.

The priority to farmers is seen as a move to blunt the Congress government’s Rs-8,000-crore farm loan waiver approved last year.

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The manifesto stated that the BJP will “release a white paper within 100 days of forming the government on the fiscal health of the state to show the financial mismanagement by the Congress government.”

Yeddyurappa promised to bring back the ban on cow slaughter, which Siddaramaiah repealed after assuming power in 2013 and restart the Gau Seva Aayoga. The manifesto also included a “Gobardhana Yojane” at the state level to help farmers monetise cow dung and free treatment for cattle and milch cows owned by small and marginal farmers in government veterinary hospitals.

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The BJP also promised no government interference in temple administration and to “ensure all bodies formed to administer Hindu religious institutions will consist solely of members of the Hindu community”.

Yeddyurappa also said the BJP would launch schemes for women from BPL households including a three-gram gold mangal sutra for the marriage of all women, free smartphones and free sanitary napkins. He also said his government will form “Kittur Rani Chennamma Flying Squads” for women in distress in Bangalore.

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