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Gujarat polls 2017: Happiness Index, cow protection in Congress manifesto

The party also promises underserved communities and building a large statue of Dr B R Ambedkar at the Gulf of Khambhat

BS Web Team 

Congress Manifesto
Congress Manifesto

The Congress party has released its manifesto for the coming The manifesto has ticked all the right boxes when it comes the question of inclusive approach for wooing voters. The manifesto was released by party in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and the party’s state chief Bharatsinh Solanki. According to this manifesto, the Congress party’s approach is to shift away from gross domestic product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness Index (GNHI). 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the manifesto:

Reservations: The Congress will abide by its electoral agreement with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamant Samiti (PAAS), and therefore, under Article 46 of the Constitution, the manifesto promises reservation benefits to underserved communities as well.

The manifesto promises justice for political protestors who died during the Patidar agitation rallies and assures quick probe against the culprits.

Ambedkar statue: Under its alliance with Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, the Congress has assured building a large statue of Dr B R Ambedkar at the Gulf of Khambhat.

Jobs and unemployment benefits: The Hindu quoted the manifesto as promising to abolish a fixed pay system, outsourcing of jobs and contractual system in the government.

According to an NDTV report, the manifesto has promised succour for the youth and unemployed. The Congress has assured up to Rs 4,000 monthly allowances for the unemployed. 

To boost self-employment of OBCs and youth in the state, Congress will set up the ‘Vishwakarma Foundation’.

Also, there is a promised provision for 100 per cent financing to budding entrepreneurs from all communities, in addition to a 200 sq metre plot with no down payment.

For students: The manifesto has promised to provide scholarship to students from poor background and 100 per cent free education to girls from primary to high-school level.

For farmers: The manifesto highlights pro-farmer promises as well, where 16 hours of power supply, loan waiver and abolishment of Land acquisition Act are being promised to improve condition of distressed farmers.

Fuel prices: The manifesto also promises a reduction in petrol and diesel prices by up to Rs 10 through a cut in state taxes.

For traders: The manifesto has also made a direct appeal to the GST council to exempt small traders and manufacturers with an annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore.

For cow protection: A report by The Quint identifies as one of the major surprising elements in the manifesto the promise of cow protection and ‘gaushala construction’. A blueprint has been designed for the construction of cow shelters. 

Affordable homes: The manifesto has reiterated its 2012 announcement ‘Ghar nu Ghar’ and promised to construct 25 lakh houses in the next five years.

Influences: A report by the Indian Express points out that the Congress’ manifesto has taken cues from the AAP government’s initiative to cut power tariff in Delhi and Tamil Nadu’s ‘Amma Canteen’.

In an interview with the Ahmedabad Mirror, one of the creators of the manifesto, Dipak Babaria, has stated: “We have met at least 1,500 representatives of various associations, NGOs, MLAs, MPs, party office-bearers, taluka and district panchayat members to zero in on key issues.”

The Gujarat election 2017 for 182 seats is to take place in two phases on December 9 and 14. The final counting of votes will take place on December 18.

First Published: Fri, December 08 2017. 12:15 IST