Prafulla Das

BHUBANESWAR: For many parties fighting the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Orissa, it is now time to garner votes by promising to provide rice to the poor at a throwaway price.

The Congress joined the bandwagon on Saturday by assuring that if it was voted to power in the State it would provide rice at Rs. 1 per kg. to families living below the poverty line.

Releasing the party’s manifesto for the State, Union Minister for State for Coal Santosh Kumar Bagrodia and Pradesh Congress Committee president K.P. Singh Deo said the rice at Rs. 1 per kg. scheme would be applicable to all the families in the backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region.

The Congress also promised that the poor families would be provided pulses, salt and onion at a reasonable rate.

In fact, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are trying to counter the Biju Janata Dal as the Naveen Patnaik government was already providing rice at the rate of Rs. 2 per kg. to the BPL families.

The BJP promised in its manifesto that if it formed the government in the State, it would provide rice at Rs. 1 per kg. to the poor families. It also assured to provide salt to the BPL families for free and pulses at Rs. 5 per kg.

Both the Congress and the BJP have improved upon their election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls in the country. While the Congress had earlier announced to provide rice at Rs. 3 per kg. if voted to power at the Centre, the BJP had on Friday assured to give rice to the BPL families at Rs. 2 per kg.

Samruddha Odisha, a regional party fighting the polls for the first time, has also promised rice to the farmers at Rs. 1 per kg.