Releasing its manifesto for Karnataka Assembly elections on May 2, the Congress promised to repeal all “anti people and unjust laws” enacted by the BJP government within one year of forming the government, scrap National Education Policy (NEP), and accept the caste census report, besides reiterating it’s five “guarantees” announced earlier.
The manifesto, called 'Sarva Janangada Shanthiya Thota' (Peaceful garden of all communities), was released in Bengaluru by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in the presence of the State unit chief D.K. Shivakumar and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and others.
It reiterates give guarantees of the party: Gruha Jyothi (electricity), Gruha Lakshmi (₹2,000 every month to women heads of families), Anna Bhagya (food grains to BPL families), Yuvanidhi (unemployment support) and Shakti (free travel for women under State buses).
The party has promised investment of ₹1.5 lakh crore over next five to complete pending irrigation projects in Karnataka, ₹1.5 lakh crore for modernisation of agriculture, and ₹50,000 crore for development of infrastructure in villages.
On pension scheme
While it has said that it would sympathetically consider the demands of government employees who joined service after 2006 to implement the Old Pension Scheme, it also promises to bring a transparent tendering system in major departments, such public works. panchayat raj, irrigation, urban development and power.
The manifesto released by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Mallikarjun Kharge in Bengaluru, ahead of the May 10 elections, stated that the NEP would be rejected, and a State Education Policy will be announced. “Congress will restore the true values of Bharat and Karnataka, and the scientific temper in text books. The BJP government has distorted text books by insulting Basavanna and Kuvempu,” according to the manifesto.
On reservation matrix
While stating that the reservation quota matrix would be increased to 75% to accommodate the hopes of SC, ST, OBC and minorities, the party promised to restore the reservation quota of 4% to Muslims, which has been scrapped by the BJP government.
With regard to the internal reservation matrix announced by the BJP government, the Congress manifesto states: “The Justice A.J. Sadashiva Commission report on internal reservation would be placed in the first session of the legislature session. The caste census report will be implemented.”
The Congress announced that it will repeal all “unjust and anti-people laws” passed by the BJP government within one year besides repealing the anti-farmers laws enacted by the BJP government. It has also announced that all “politically motivated” cases against farmers will be withdrawn.
Action against hate
“Firm action would be taken against individuals and organisations that spread hatred among communities on the basis of caste and community. Congress believes law is sacrosanct, and they cannot be violated by Bajrang Dal and PFI.”
Accusing the BJP government of pursuing anti-labour policies, the Congress announced that it will repeal the amendment to Factories Act to increase working time from 8 hours to 12 hours daily.
It alleged that only to derive power, the BJP’s main focus was to polarise people. However, Congress believes in equal development and social justice for which ₹10,000 crore would be allocated for welfare of minorities, and preservation of places of worship, the manifesto said.
While Congress has already announced the Gruhalakshmi, Anna Bhagya, Yuvanidhi, Shakthi and Gruhajyothi “guarantees”, which would be implemented in the first cabinet meeting, the party announced region and sector specific promises in its manifesto.
While the party has promised specific timelines for conducting elections to all local bodies, it has said that transport workers would be treated on a par with government workers. The salaries of anganwadi and mini anganwadi workers would be enhanced to ₹15,000 and ₹10,000 respectively, and police personnel on night duty will get an additional allowance of ₹5,000 per month along with a month’s salary extra every year, the manifesto said.
The MSP will be based on Agriculture Price Commission recommendation, it said, adding that under Ksheera Kranti scheme a target will be set to produce 1.5 crore litres of milk daily in Karnataka. It also promised to enhance financial incentive to the farmer from ₹5 to ₹7 per litre. Under Matsya Kranthi scheme, ₹12,000 crore would be invested to improve income in blue economy. Congress has also promised to complete the Yettinahole irrigation project within 2 years of coming to power.
The party has also promised ₹5,000 crore investment in tourism sector and setting up of a ₹1,009 crore fund for MSME sector. The party has also promised Karnataka State Educational Finance Corporation with a seed funding of ₹ 2,000 crore to provide scholarships. It has also promised to fill up all vacancies of teachers, doctors and other staff in education and health department. The party will also strive to increase solar power production by 5,000 MW.
Gig workers’ welfare board
With increasing number of people now dependent on gig work, the Congress has promised setting up of Gig Workers Welfare Board besides separate boards for auto drivers and taxi drivers. While it has promised hawking zones in all districts, it has also promised minimum wages for garment workers.
The Karnataka Ownership Apartment Act will be amended to provide conveyance to the owners.
The Congress has announced plans to set up Puneeth Rajkumar Heart Health scheme to provide subsidy to doctors, clinics and nursing homes to procure Defibrillator (AED). The scheme has been named after popular Kannada actor, who passed away at a young age in 2021 after a heart ailment.
With a large number of Kannadigas now settled in various countries, the Congress has announced setting up of a separate Ministry for NRI-Kannadigas. It has also promised to recognise overseas Kannada organisations.
As a welfare measure for Kashmiri Pandits who have migrated to Karnataka, the party has announced setting up the Kashmir Cultural Centre at a cost of ₹15 crore and a one time grant of ₹25 crore.
Welfare measures for minorities, elderly, ex-servicemen
The party has also promised to set up Mangalamukhi Welfare Board for Gender Minorities and Field Marshal Kariyappa Ex-servicemen Development Board. Senior citizens have been promised free pilgrimage to one of the 15 holy places in Karnataka and one of the 10 holy places in India once in two years. It has also announced reserving 1% of posts in police recruitment for gender minorities
Promises for Bengaluru
The party has promised to complete phase 3 of Namma Metro within one year of assuming power and will try to extend the Metro line upto to Vasanth Narsapur in Tumakuru. Lakes will be rejuvenated and water sports will be promoted in these water bodies. The party will try to make BBMP financially independent, it has promised.