All eyes are now on Rajasthan and Telangana, the last two states that go to the polls this year. Campaigning for the elections has ended in the two states, where Assembly elections will be held in a single phase on Friday, 7 December.
Telangana was an unexpected addition to the list of states where the Vidhan Sabha elections were scheduled for this year. It was necessitated after now caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao dissolved the Assembly and called for early polls.
Over the course of campaigning, the focus of the contesting political parties — the BJP, Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) — became clear, which was further cemented with the release of the election manifestos. Among the key promises parties made are farm loan waivers, jobs, allowances for unemployed youth and various welfare measures.
There is not much that distinguishes the poll promises that various parties have made. But the one poll promise the KCR-led party has made that stands out from the rest is 12 percent reservation for the Muslim community. The Assembly had passed a resolution on the same and is now awaiting the Centre’s approval to bring the quota into effect.
In addition to this, the TRS has vowed to continue the farm loan waiver scheme it had implemented in 2014 when it came to power, waiving Rs 1 lakh off every loan. This differs from the Congress and BJP’s promise of waiving Rs 2 lakh of farmers’ loans if voted to power.
For farmers, the TRS manifesto also mentions a promise to increase aid from Rs 8,000 per acre to Rs 10,000 under the “Rythu Bandhu” welfare scheme. The Congress and TDP have assured farmers annual investment support of Rs 10,000 per year, per crop and additional Minimum Support Price for major crops.
Not one to be left behind, in the BJP manifesto, the party has promised that every farmer will get a free borewells, or a well, or a free pump set. It announced that if voted to power, it will construct barrages at 13 points across the Godavari river.
Since the election season began, there has been a lot said about the lack of jobs for youth, and this is one key issue political parties have paid attention to. To calm the restless youth — and to try to win their votes, of course — the prime contesting parties have all promised an unemployment allowance to the young generation, in addition to the promise of jobs.
The Congress and TDP — which are contesting the polls in alliance along with the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telugu Jan Samithi (TJS) — have announced an allowance of Rs 3,000 per month to the youth as well as the creation of one lakh jobs.
Similarly, the TRS announced a similar unemployment assistance of Rs 3,016 per month and the BJP, Rs 3,166. The pink party has also promised to increase all kinds of of “Aasara” pensions from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,016. This was a welfare scheme the TRS government had introduced for the elderly, widows, Goud community, Elephantiasis and AIDS patients, the differently abled and beedi workers. For the differently abled, the TRS, in its manifesto, said the pension will be enhanced from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,016.
In housing, too, the parties attempted to outdo each other in their manifestos. The TDP has promised a house and financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh as well as a job to the families of the 1,200 people who died in the Telangana movement. The party led by N Chandrababu Naidu has also assured Rs 5 lakh support to those building homes in their land as part of housing-for-all scheme.
The TRS could not complete its earlier promise of building two lakh houses for the poor. In its manifesto this time, the party has modified the scheme, promising Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh to those who build a home on their own plots.
One can only wait till the next elections to gauge the extent to which the party voted to power fulfils the promises it made in its manifesto.
Updated Date: Dec 06, 2018 19:34 PM