Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra on Tuesday launched the party’s five-guarantee campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Assam.
The five guarantees are bringing a law that nullifies the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, providing five lakh government jobs, raising the daily wage of tea plantation workers to ₹365, free electricity up to 200 units per household and ₹2,000 as monthly income support to all homemakers.
“This election is an election of trust. The people of Assam were cheated by a party five years ago that promised them 25 lakh jobs but gave them CAA instead. The Congress party is not making empty promises but undertaking five guarantees,” Ms. Vadra said at a rally in Tezpur.
State president Ripun Bora explained the rationale of the guarantees. He said the party had during its ‘Asom basaon ahok (Come, let’s save Assam)’ yatra identified these five major issues the people were facing.
Campaign committee chief and MP Pradyut Bordoloi said the first guarantee was based on the feedback from the people. “We have already asked lawyers to start drafting a law towards stopping the CAA from being implemented in Assam.”
Fellow MP and manifesto committee chairperson Gaurav Gogoi said the promise of jobs was honest and realistic, unlike the 25 lakh jobs that the BJP had promised. “The figure was arrived at after studying the State budget and consulting economists,” he said.
Likewise, the tea business was studied and compared with the tea workers’ wage in Kerala, which is ₹380 a day. “Tea planters can easily manage ₹365 and we will make this wage happen within 30 days of coming to power,” leader of the Opposition in the 126-member Assembly Debabrata Saikia said.
The Sarbananda Sonowal government had in February raised the cash component of the daily wage of tea workers from ₹167 to ₹217. Plantations also give their workers free housing, electricity, medical care and rations as the non-cash component of the wage.
The Congress has now promised to extend this free electricity beyond tea estates. The assurance not to charge up to 200 units consumed would mean a discount of about ₹1,400 on the monthly bills, which for most people would translate into zero-bill.
₹2,000 for homemakers
According to All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev, the ₹2,000 guaranteed for homemakers was because society does not recognise their toiling as work. “We want to recognise their home management,” she said.
The Congress heads the seven-party ‘mahajot’ or grand alliance that hopes to oust the BJP-led coalition government in Assam. The other parties are the All India United Democratic Front, the Bodoland People’s Front, the Anchalik Gana Morcha and three of the Left Front.