Gujarat Elections: Congress manifesto promises relief to farmers; Patidar quotas
Congress released its manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat elections. The 182-member Assembly will go to polls on December 9 and 14. Ashok Gehlot and Bharatsinh Vaghela released it in Ahmedabad. The party has doled out sops for farmers, women, college students and Patidars. They have addressed issues of unemployment and high price of diesel/petrol, among other things. What all have they promised? Read on!
Congress entices farmers, women, college-goers and Patidars
For farmers, Congress promised to waive loans and provide 16hrs electricity for irrigation. Homeless women would be given subsidized homes and college students, laptops and smartphones. Fulfilling its assurance to Patidars, a bill providing quotas to those not entitled to it will be introduced in the Assembly. Effectively, OBC, ST, SC quota won't be touched. Patidars will get quota under this special category.
Congress addresses issues of unemployment and high petrol/diesel prices
As per BSE and CMIE figures, in October 2017, the unemployment rate in Gujarat was 6.8% compared to the national average of 5.7%. Thus, this is a major poll issue. Congress latched onto this by announcing allowance of Rs. 4000 to unemployed youth till they get a job. Congress also promises to slash petrol/diesel prices by Rs. 10/litre.
Congress to set up SIT to probe BJP government's corruption
Interestingly, Congress plans to set up special investigation teams (SITs) to probe BJP government's corruption. This promise comes on the heels of a controversial report by the Wire regarding Jay Shah's business successes. Jay is BJP chief, Amit Shah's son.
How feasible are these promises?
In 2016 Punjab, Congress promised loan waivers for farmers, unemployment sops and smartphones. However, after coming to power, they did a volte face. Presently, Gujarat's outstanding debt on March 31 was Rs. 70,000cr. Congress is promising Rs. 32,000cr to 25L unemployed youth. Further, smartphones would cost about Rs. 150cr. Considering these figures together, Congress might face another Punjab-like situation, if it comes to power.