The Congress party which had last year won assembly polls in four states is eyeing a comeback by releasing a farmer and pro-poor manifesto. Congress has always criticised the Modi government for its failure to address problems faced by the farmers. Party President Rahul Gandhi announced that a separate budget will be prepared for farmers. After winning assembly polls in Rajasthan, MP, and Chattishgarh, the Congress had implemented the farm loan waiver scheme for providing relief to distressed farmers. Thus, by releasing a farmer-centric manifesto, the Congress is eyeing a comeback at the centre.
BJP spokesperson Avadhut Wagh lashed out heavily on the manifesto of the Congress party. He said, “Congress used to throw its promises of the manifesto in the dustbin, it has been happening so since the independence of India. They never kept their words. This manifesto is also election jumla and Congress cannot implement it. Congress has no concrete plan for the development and the upliftment of the poor and farmers.”
After releasing the manifesto, Congress president Rahul Gandhi stated, “Manifesto is a result of the year-long process. No false promises have been made. We are reflecting people’s voice. The Congress manifesto promises LGBT rights, rights for minorities, women empowerment and NYAY scheme.” He added that the manifesto lays major emphasis on employment generation, addressing agrarian distress and strengthening the education and health sectors. He said that farmers defaulting on loans will not be sent to jail as it will be treated as civil offence instead of criminal offence. Rahul also promised to simplify Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh PL Punia said, “The manifesto of Congress is very good and genuine. It fulfills the expectations of the common man. It is prepared for the people and is different from that of BJP. This manifesto encompasses every segment of the society.”
“This document has been prepared after consulting a large number of people from various walks of life. The purpose of the manifesto is to spell out the vision party, to move towards a forward-looking economy,” said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Rahul also launched a scathing attack against the Modi government by stating that they have made false promises to voters. He said that PM Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in the account of every Indian but he never fulfilled this promise. The Congress scion added that Modi government works for the interest of the business class. Taking a jibe at the Modi government he said that Congress party’s manifesto is people’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and not one man’s view.
Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap appreciated the party’s manifesto saying, “This manifesto represents every citizen of India. It tries to bring the economy of the country back on the track, which was ruined during the last five years. We are talking of jobs for youths and creating a roadmap for employment. We are focusing on the infrastructure. Congress is taking steps for the security of women.”
When asked about bringing the separate budget for the farmers, he replied, “Party leaders were raising this issue for quite some time. This will be a historic step towards the welfare of farmers.”
Here are the main highlights of the Congress election manifesto:
Number of days increased from 100 days to 150 days under MNREGA scheme
6 per cent of the GDP to be spent on education
Bringing petrol and diesel under the ambit of GST
As per the NYAY scheme, households earning below Rs 12,000 per month would get annual assistance of Rs 72,000 (Rs 6,000 per month).
22,000 vacant posts to be filled till March 2020. 10 lakh jobs in panchayats. Entrepreneurs won’t need any permission for starting a business in 3 years
A separate budget for farmers on the lines of railway budget. Loan default won’t be treated as a criminal offence but a civil offence.
National security and internal security
Health facilities to be provided to poor sections of the society
Nawab Malik, spokesperson of the Nationalist Congress Party said, “Nyay scheme will remove poverty and strengthen the economy. After winning elections, Congress, NCP, and other allies will prepare a common minimum programme and we will implement our promises. Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. India lives in its villages. So, a separate budget for the farmers is a very good idea.”
The Congress document is the result of extensive nation-wide consultation, as claimed by the party leadership. The Congress leaders had interacted with a host of different sections to seek their views on their aspirations from the party. At the release of Congress’ manifesto, P Chidambaram said, “You will find there is enough in the manifesto which addresses the concerns of Dalits, youths, minority, the state of healthcare and education and that concerns the internal and national security.”