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K'taka polls: Cong promises rice at Re 1 a kg, interest-free farm loan

The party is seeking to return to power after a gap of seven years

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

The Congress on Wednesday unveiled a series of promises to the citizens of Karnataka, including 1 kg rice at Re 1 with a maximum of 30 kg for below poverty line card holders, interest-free loans to farmers and free laptops to pre-university students, if it returns to power. Assembly elections are being held on May 5.

The party, which is seeking to return to power after a gap of seven years, has also promised to develop an 8-lane expressway between Bidar in the North to Chamarajanagar in the South to promote industrial development. Connectivity with major ports and airports, industrial townships, promotion of garments, textiles, engineering, automobile industries and creation of 5 million jobs are some of the other promises included in the party's pre-poll manifesto.

Union defence minister A K Antony released the manifesto here on Wednesday in the presence of both state and central leaders.

The party has also promised to spend Rs 10,000 crore for completion of several pending major irrigation projects and to provide drinking water to all villages and towns in the next five years.

Interest-free loans up to Rs 2 lakh and at three per cent interest up to Rs 5 lakh, establishing of a Rs 1,500-crore natural calamity relief fund and supply of three-phase quality power for eight hours continuously per day were some of the other assurances announced by the party.

Like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress has also promised to provide free laptops or digital notepads to all pre-university students and make Kannada the medium of instruction compulsory and teaching English as a subject from the first standard. It also committed to total implementation of the Food Security Act.

It has also promised a one-time loan waiver to SC/ST/OBC/women/child/fisheries and minorities development corporation, and special scholarships to sportspersons, opening of sports schools in every district and setting up of sophisticated sports university and improving the quality of stadiums.

"We will establish fast-track courts to try terrorism-related cases and heinous crimes on women and children, and also constitute a state-level committee under the chairmanship of a retired high court judge to look into cases of detention implicating innocent individuals in terrorism related cases," G Parameshwar, president of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee said.

Congress has also announced several schemes for Bangalore city. It has promised to frame a new law to govern Bangalore Mahanagar Palike. To reduce traffic congestion in the city, it has proposed to build elevated flyovers and extend Bangalore metro to suburbs like Bidadi, Hoskote, Devanahalli, Nelamangala and Somanahalli after completing the second phase.

It has also promised to make Bangalore free from slums by rehabilitating slum dwellers into a multi-storey apartments.

Union ministers Mallikarjuna Kharge, M Veerappa Moily, Rahman Khan, KH Muniyappa and Jitendra Singh and senior Congress leaders Ambika Soni and Oscar Fernandes, former chief minister N Dharam Singh, besides Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, were present on the occasion.

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First Published: Wed, April 24 2013. 20:10 IST