With just less than 48 hours left for the second phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018, the battleground has been set and the political parties have also blown election bugle in the poll-bound state. While the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is ruling the state for the last 15 years, is seeking a fourth consecutive term, the Congress will aim to dethrone the Chief Minister Raman Singh-led government.
As the stakes are very high and both the BJP and the Congress will be engaged in a straight fight to prove their electoral juggernaut, let's have a quick look at their election manifestos, which promise to tackle various crucial factors like Naxalism, hike MSP for forest produce and development of multi-speciality hospitals in Chhattisgarh.
In early November, Congress president Rahul Gandhi released the party manifesto in Rajnandgaon, promising farm loan waiver, minimum support price for crops as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and a ban on liquor sales. Titled 'Jan Ghoshana Patra', the manifesto also promises special women's police stations, air ambulances and fixing "respectable" income for daily wage labourers.
The next day, the BJP released its manifesto — 'Sankalp Patra', with a special focus on farmers and youth of the Naxal-affected state.
Here is a comparison between both the manifestos:
BJP: Rs 1000 per month as pension to small and marginal farmers and landless labourers aged over 60; two lakh new pump connections to cultivators.
Congress: Loan waiver for farmers within 10 days of coming into power; MSP for paddy will be fixed at Rs 2,500 per quintal (2018-19 rate is Rs. 1,750).
BJP: Interest-free loans worth Rs 2 lakh to women and Rs 5 lakh to self-help groups for the business purpose. ‘Kaushal Unnayan’ allowance for ensuring employment to unemployed youths.
Congress: Tackling employment under Ghar Ghar Rozgaar, Har Ghar Rozgaar, the manifesto promises apprenticeship programs and employment opportunities for the youth. Also, the govt will provide a monthly stipend to 10 lakh unemployed youngsters under Rajiv Mitr Yojna for financial support.
3. Forest Produce:
BJP: MSP to be hiked by 1.5 times for minor forest produce.
Congress: Increasing MSP on 70-85 forest crops, Rs. 4,000 a bag for tendu patta workers.
BJP: Chhattisgarh will be made a 'Naxal-free' State.
Congress: Naxal-affected panchayats will be given a package of Rs 1 crore for community development works.
BJP: District hospitals will be developed into multi-speciality hospitals; super-speciality hospitals will be set up in Ambikapur and Jagdalpur.
Congress: Six medical colleges will be converted to multi-speciality hospitals;1,000 specialists will be brought on board in the first year.
6. Financial benefits:
BJP: Medical allowance of Rs 1,000 per month to pensioners.
Congress: Every family will be given 35 kgs of rice every month at Re 1.
7. Education and other key facilities:
BJP: Developing Chhattisgarh as a tourist destination; new film city. ‘Guru Ghasidar’ and ‘Amar Shaheed Gundaghur’ scholarship schemes for students of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Free bicycles for students entering Class IX. Free uniforms and textbooks for students up to Class XII. Free scotties/scooters (two-wheelers) for meritorious students to give them relaxation in commuting.
Congress: Ban on liquor sales, halving electricity bills for domestic consumers, quality education and measures to deal with nutrition and anaemia in school kids, putting a healthy cell in all educational institutions.
The second phase of polling for remaining 72 constituencies in 90-member assembly will take place across 19 districts on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. In phase one, polling was held for 18 assembly segments in the eight Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh on November 12. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 11, 2018.