Ahead of Gujarat polls, Shankersinh Vaghela promises 10% quota for most backward classes, no GST for a year

Ahmedabad:  Gujarat's Kshatriya strongman Shankersinh Vaghela on Wednesday said his fledgling 'Jan Vikalp Front', would carve out special 10 percent quota for the most backward classes from within the 27 percent reservation meant for the OBCs and defer implementation of the GST for a year.

Vaghela, a former chief minister who quit the Congress in July and floated the front weeks later, released its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly polls that also promised unemployment allowance for educated youth, reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel and a secondary school in each village.

He said the outfit would field 74 candidates for the first phase of Assembly poll scheduled for 9 December. Voting will be held in 89 of the state's 182 constituencies that day.

The backward communities in the 10 percent category would include Koli, Thakor, Bajaniya, Yogi Raval, Devipujak, Madari and Vagher, among others.

File image of Shankersinh Vaghela. PTI

File image of Shankersinh Vaghela. PTI

"There are most backward communities among OBCs who have been deprived of 27 percent reservation benefits given to OBCs in the state. If brought to power, we will carve out a special 10 percent category out of 27 percent for these communities," Vaghela told reporters.

He said the Koli-Thakor Development Board will be scrapped and a new Koli-Thakor Development Corporation created in its place. The front government would set aside Rs 1,000 crore for the corporation every year.

Vaghela said the newly floated outfit would defer implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for a year and fight for excluding necessary items like food, clothes and houses from its ambit.

The veteran politician, who has been both with the BJP and the Congress during his career, said the front will not field candidates against four senior leaders of the two parties. These are: Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, Congress' national spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil and MLA Paresh Dhanani.

Vaghela said 69 candidates will contest elections in the first phase on 'man on tractor' symbol of All India Hindustan Congress Party, while five others will try their luck on symbols backed by the 'Jan Vikalp Front'.

Another promise made in the front's manifesto is monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 to those who have passed Class XII, Rs 4,000 to graduates, and Rs 4,500 to post-graduates.

Besides, health insurance cover will be given to members of families with annual income below Rs

6 lakh the premium for which will be paid by the government. He also promised easy loans for construction of houses for families not owning one.

Vaghela said he would also make efforts for creation of a 'Gujarat Regiment' in the Army.

Gujarat will have a two-phase poll on 9 and 14 December, and votes would be counted on December 18.

Updated Date: Nov 23, 2017 15:17 PM

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