Karnataka poll: BJP promises rice at Re. one a
kg for poor
Karnataka's ruling BJP, going to the May 5 assembly poll battling
corruption scandals, Friday promised 25kg rice at one rupee a kg
to the poor and free lap-tops to class 12 and college students if
voted to power again.
Opposition Congress Wednesday released its manifesto for the May 5
Karnataka assembly elections, promising 30 kg of rice for Re.1 per
kg to BPL families, loan waiver to farmers and laptops for college
Admitting that the party was late in releasing its manifesto,
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.
Parameshwara said the Congress was committed to implementing the
promises if elected to power in the 225-seat assembly, to which
one member is nominated by the governor as a representative of the
"Our manifesto is a solemn commitment to the people of Karnataka
for time-bound implementation and not mere promises like many
other political parties make," Parameshwara said, in the presence
of central and state leaders, including cabinet ministers from the
state at the centre.
Releasing the manifesto, the party's central leader and Defence
Minister A.K. Antony said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had set
up a high-powered committee to see that the assurances made in the
manifesto were made good, in a time-bound manner.
"We take this manifesto very seriously as it gives us an
opportunity to serve the people by regaining power to restore the
glory of the state. We will provide a stable government and ensure
peace and harmony during our tenure," Antony told reporters.
Noting that the election was very crucial for the people of the
state, Antony said Karnataka had become a model state because of
the far-sighted policies of Congress governments in the past.
"Everybody used to look up to Karnataka as a model state as it was
progressive and prosperous when our party was in power.
Unfortunately, during the last few years due to change of
government from Congress to other parties, socio-economic
development came to a standstill and the state stagnated," Antony
Asserting that the party would provide a clean and efficient
administration if elected to power, Antony said corruption at any
level would not be tolerated and strong action would be taken
against the corrupt.
"I can assure the people that when we come to power, we will
provide a clean, corruption-free and development-oriented
government with inclusive growth to empower the poor, backward,
minorities and Dalits," Antony reiterated.
With around 65 percent of the people dwelling in rural areas, the
party's manifesto has given prime importance to the welfare of
farmers, farm labour, artisans, women and less privileged
"Our farmer-friendly programmes include 75 percent subsidy for
irrigation pump sets powered by solar energy and 100 percent
subsidy for drip irrigation; interest-free soft loans to farmers
up to Rs.2,00,000 and with three percent interest to Rs.5 lakh and
Rs.4 subsidy per litre of milk to benefit 4.5 million farmers
across the state," Parameshwara pointed out.
The manifesto also promises to provide free laptops or digital
notepads to all students of the two-year pre-university course (PUC);
it also promises to start teaching schoolchildren English as a
subject from standard one, and to reduce the income limit for
admission to private schools under the Right to Education Act to
Rs.1.5 lakh per annum.
Among the party leaders who were present on the occasion were
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Veerappa Moily, Union
Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Union Minister of State for
Micro, Medium and Small Enterprise (MSME) K.H. Muniyappa, who all
hail from the state.
Absence of the former central and state minister S.M. Krishna was,
however, keenly felt by the party's leaders and cadre.