Congress may rise to power for the first time in Telangana since the formation of the State in 2014, according to several exit polls and the latest polling trends. While announcing the poll promises, All India Congress Committee (AICC) president, Mallikarjun Kharge said the manifesto was like the Gita, Bible, and Quran for the people of Telangana. Their surplus State, under the leadership of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao, had succumbed to debt and corruption, Mr. Kharge said.
Congress’s famed ‘six guarantees’ for the Telangana Assembly elections were announced in September this year, aiming to replicate its victory model in Karnataka this year. The promises covered cash transfers, pension schemes, free electricity, cylinders and land to a wide base of voters, from women and farmers to students and martyrs’ families. These include: the ‘Mahalakshmi’, ‘Rythu Bharosa’, ‘Gruha Jyothi’, ‘Indiramma Indlu’, ‘Yuva Vikasam’ and ‘Cheyutha’ guarantees. Mr. Kharge said the Congress “is determined to provide social justice, economic empowerment and unbridled progress to the people of Telangana”.
Under the Mahalakshmi guarantee, the party has promised ₹2,500 every month to women; LPG gas cylinders priced at ₹500; and. free travel on RTC buses. Young women getting married would also be offered 10 grams of gold and cash of ₹1 lakh while eligible women would get electric scooters free of cost.
The Rythu Bharosa (Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme) guarantee pledges agricultural prosperity to the State’s 58.33 lakh farmers, promising ₹15,000 annually to farmers and tenant farmers; ₹12,000 for agricultural labourers; and a ₹500 bonus for farmers growing paddy crops. Around 55% of Telangana’s populace make a living from agriculture, estimates show.
Electricity is a prized election sop, with Congress offering 200 units of free electricity to every household and 24-hour free electricity for agriculture purposes under the Gruha Jyothi guarantee. State Congress President A. Revanth Reddy in November, while speaking of the guarantee, mentioned that Congress government under Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in 2004 provided free power to farmers.
The Indiramma Indlu guarantee earmarks ₹5 lakh for those who don’t own a home, designated house sites and 250 sq. yards plot for Telangana movement fighters. To martyrs’ families, the party has also promised ₹25,000 monthly pensions, a government job for one family and removal of cases against activists.
Youth interests were addressed under the Yuva Vikasam guarantee. Students will get a Vidya Bharosa card worth ₹5 lakh, and a Telangana International School would be set in every mandal.
The Cheyutha guarantees a health insurance cover of up to ₹10 lakh and ₹4,000 pension to the poor.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in September said to a crowd that Congress was not fighting just the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) in Telangana but a combined team of BRS, Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “They are all working together and that is why there are no raids on Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao by the CBI, ED or IT department despite the BRS government knocking off ₹1 lakh crore in the Kaleshwaram project,” he claimed.
In its manifesto, Congress promised to address corruption in the construction of the Kaleshwaram project with a sitting Judge of the High Court.
Besides these six promises, the party assures increased budget for education, implementation of the old pension scheme for employees, insurance scheme for major crops, a population-based reservation for backward classes (BCs) after a caste census, separate sub-plans for BCs and minorities, and a special Welfare Board for Economically Backward Classes.
While announcing the party promises, ministers and MLAs met people in constituencies and presented households with a guarantee card assuring them that the six guarantees given by the party would be implemented.
In September, Mr. Gandhi said the BRS government would “go away in the next 100 days.” If Congress promised separate statehood to Telangana and delivered it, people should have no doubts about Congress implementing all six guarantees with a similar commitment, he said.
Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi shared this resolve, “I along with my colleagues had the opportunity to be a part of the birth of this great state, Telangana. Now, it is our duty to elevate the state to new heights.”