New Delhi: The Congress has launched its bid to win over the electorate of Jharkhand with a series of sops and concessions for all sections of society in its manifesto, released Sunday.
From promising a film city in the state to promote local cinema, to assuring the upkeep of gaushalas (cow shelters) and setting up a Gauchar Development Board, tribal rights and land rights, the party has tried to tailor its approach to Jharkhand’s myriad communities. The manifesto also promises farm loan waivers, pensions, women empowerment, and swift action against instances of mob violence.
Jharkhand’s 81 constituencies will vote in five phases, starting from 30 November. The Congress had won just six seats in the state in 2014. This time, the party is contesting on 31 seats, and along with its ally the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, has focused on the plank of social justice. It has fielded its spokesperson Gourav Vallabh against incumbent chief minister Raghubar Das of the BJP from Jamshedpur East.
Loan waivers and cows
The Congress has promised to waive farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh, and says it will release a separate farmers’ budget. It will also subsidise electricity and fix a minimum support price for crops like paddy to ease the burden on the farmers.
Congress will also “provide adequate budget for the upkeep of gaushalas. It will be ensured that all gaushalas are equipped with necessary sheds, veterinary services, water, and fodder,” the manifesto states, adding the promise of a Gauchar Development Board.
The party has also promised clean drinking water through pipes and taps to every household, which has been another crucial concern in Jharkhand, since Jamshedpur is one of the few cities to have this facility.
It is also promising free education in public schools, as well as a 50 per cent fee waiver for every family earning less than Rs 10,000 a month.
“The school curriculum will be reviewed and changes made wherever necessary. The school curriculum will reflect the constitutional values and will also highlight the rich cultural, social, and political history of Jharkhand,” reads the manifesto.
Tribals and land rights
To promote tribal arts and culture, the Congress promises to sponsor artists and set up a tribal art and culture centre. A film city has also been proposed to promote local cinema.
The Congress also proposes to recognise Sarna as a separate religion before the 2021 census.
“We will propose to the central government to provide a separate code in the census for the Sarna community. Majority of the tribals are neither Hindus, nor Muslims, nor Christians. They have a different system of worship and have been demanding a separate code. We will make all efforts to ensure Sarna is recognised as a separate religious code before 2021 census,” the manifesto states.
Rehabilitation of victims of mob violence and a legislation to curb it are also on the party’s agenda.
“We will enact a legislation to provide for strict punishment in the cases of deaths due to mob violence on the basis of caste, gender, and religion. The victims and the families of mob-lynching will be rehabilitated at the earliest,” it states.
The Congress has also promised to repeal the amendments made to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and implement the act “as per its original purposes”.
The manifesto also states that the Congress is “committed to providing an atmosphere where businesses can thrive”.
“Red tapism and other inefficiencies will be abolished. We will end the Inspector Raj,” it states