The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto for the Karnataka assembly polls, released on Friday, has attempted to blunt the criticism the Centre and BJP-led state governments have faced on agrarian distress, and attacked the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government for its failures to address issues of poor urban infrastructure in Bengaluru and for running a "corrupt" government.
The BJP manifesto has promised crop loan waiver of upto Rs 100,000, including all loans from nationalised banks and cooperatives, in its very first cabinet meeting after forming the government. It also commits to provide free laptops to students, smartphones to women, and a return of the cow protection law enacted during the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP government.
At a public rally in Kalgi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced that a Congress government at the Centre in 2019 will waive off all farm loans within 10-days of forming the government, and provide employment to women.
There have been sustained farm protests across several states since six farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, in June 2017.
Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments have either waived off loans or promised other measures to ease farm distress.
Gandhi, as he had during his party’s Uttar Pradesh and Punjab assembly elections campaigns, has frequently referred to how Siddaramaiah government waived-off farm loans from cooperative banks in Karnataka, but the Modi government at the Centre refused to write off loans from nationalised banks.
The BJP manifesto has also promised a ‘negilayogi yojane’ that will provide Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 million direct income support to dry land small marginal farmers. It has reiterated its promise that it will take steps to ensure that farmers receive 1.5 times the cost of production as minimum support price.
The manifesto was released after paying homage to party sitting MLA and its candidate for Jayanagar constituency BN Vijaykumar, who died of a massive heart attack at a hospital on Friday. The Election Commission has countermanded the election on Jayanagar seat.
Key promises in BJP manifesto