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Congress focus on Gwalior-Chambal, COVID-19 relief in Madhya Pradesh by-poll manifesto

Former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath releasing his party manifesto 'Vachan Patra' for 28 State Assembly Bypoll in Bhopal.   | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday released a 52-point manifesto for the forthcoming by-election to 28 seats with a focus on the economic development of the Gwalior-Chambal region and COVID-19-related relief measures.

Releasing the manifesto before reporters here, former chief minister Kamal Nath said, “The election is about the future of Madhya Pradesh. Why will the public change its decision after our 15 months?” He added that the party made 974 promises ahead of the 2018 Vidhan Sabha election, of which it kept 574 in 11-and-a-half months.

Also Read | Congress announces nine candidates for M.P. bypoll

Accusing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of using diversionary tactics, Mr. Nath said voters won’t “fall in his trap”. He added the public would vote to protect the future of Madhya Pradesh, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was destroying. The Congress needs to win all the seats to return to power single-handedly, while the BJP requires nine seats to breach the simple majority mark and retain government.

In the manifesto, the Congress promised voters of resuming the ‘Jai Kisan Crop loan Waiver Scheme’, first announced ahead of the 2018 election, under which crop loans of up to ₹2 lakh had to be waived. Further, the party said it would not implement in the State “anti-farmers” laws enacted by the BJP government at the Centre, and would start afresh buying farm produce at support price.

For the Gwalior-Chambal region, the stronghold of turncoat Jyotiraditya Scindia where 16 seats are up for contest, the Congress has promised voters the formulation of a policy for land use in the interest of landless workers by converting Chambal ravines and barren lands into cultivable ones.

In addition, the party has made the promise of opening schools on the pattern of Sainik schools, and improving sporting facilities in the region in a bid to prepare the youth for defence forces.

Also Read | Scindia loyalists dominate BJP list for M.P. Assembly bypolls

The Congress also said it would invite new industries in the region and develop industrial corridors on both the sides of the Chambal expressway. Further, the party said it would review changes to labour laws made by the BJP government.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress promised voters a pension scheme for widows of the sole bread earners of a family who died of the disease, and a honorarium hike for anganwadi workers and ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activist). It also resolved to provide employment to local youths who lost jobs as commercial enterprises shut during the pandemic. The party also said it would help small businesses hit during the pandemic re-establish through interest-free loans of up to ₹50,000.

Also Read | Congress ropes in Sachin Pilot to campaign in Madhya Pradesh bypoll

Describing the manifesto as a supplementary one, State BJP president V.D. Sharma pointed out that the Congress had not even kept the promises made earlier. “This time, they have made no promises, but only cursed the BJP and Mr. Chouhan because they fear us,” he said. Further, he accused the Congress of giving false loan-waiver certificates to farmers to claim it had kept the promise.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 4:47:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/madhya-pradesh-bypoll-congress-manifesto-promises-help-to-covid-19-victims-kin/article32880885.ece

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