Manifesto talks of Re. 1 per kg rice, laptops for PU students
The much-delayed Congress manifesto for the Assembly elections was released on Wednesday. It promises everything under the sun — from giving 30 kg of rice to BPL families at Re. 1 a kg to providing free laptops/digital notepads to all PU students.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara claimed the party had promised “only what it could implement”.
The manifesto, released by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the presence of Union Ministers, AICC general secretaries, apart from Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council S.R. Patil, promises much for agriculture, including formation of agricultural prices commission, 75 per cent subsidy for solar energy-run IP sets, interest-free loans up to Rs. 2 lakh, among others.
The urban voter was not left far behind with promises of mass rapid transport system in every city, waste management, houses for urban poor and subsidy for rainwater harvesting.
On the education front, Dr. Parameshwara assured reduction of income limit under the RTE Act for private school admission, appointment of Kannada teachers, making Kannada medium of instruction compulsory with English as a mandatory language from Class 1. It promises a programme for the development of Kannada, Pali, Prakrit, Konkani, Tulu, Kodava and Sanskrit. It promises skill development centres, helplines for youth and special scholarship to sportspersons.
The Congress has said it will abolish manual scavenging and regularise services of municipal cleaners, besides forming a wage board to cover all unorganised workers. It has also promised conferring forest-dwelling rights and converting tandas, hattis and ST haadis into revenue villages. A grant of Rs.15,000 to build toilets in every rural household has been promised. For women, it plans to establish Kittur Rani Chennamma Bank, increasing allotment to Stree Shakti sanghas and bhavans and child welfare action plan.
Dr. Parameshwara promised streamlining administration, including the Police Department. Reservation of 20 per cent posts for women in the department, a residential school at every revenue division for children of police personnel and establishment of police welfare centres was mentioned.
It promised implementation of Rajinder Sachar and Ranganath Mishra Commission reports for providing employment to minorities. Subsidy would be provided to minority entrepreneurs and scholarships to minorities..
The manifesto promised establishment of fast-track courts for speedy trial of heinous crimes against women and children. It also promised constitution of a State panel to look into the cases of detention of individuals in terrorism cases.
Antony meets Krishna
Mr. Antony later met the former External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at his residence in Bangalore. The two leaders said the high command would choose the Chief Minister only after taking the opinion of MLAs and not before elections. Mr. Antony said the party needs the cooperation of Mr. Krishna and C.K. Jaffer Sharief to bring the party back to power.