Madhya Pradesh bypolls: Congress releases its manifesto

The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday promised jobs and pensions to kin of those who died due to Covid-19 in its 52-point ‘Vachan Patra’ (manifesto) released for the November 3 assembly bypolls to 28 seats in the state.

The manifesto— which focuses on Covid-19 victims, farmers, unemployed youth, women and businessmen—was released by the state Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath.

Releasing a list of promises “fulfilled” during the 15 months of the last Congress government state (December 2018-March 2020) in the state, Nath said, “During the 15-month tenure, Congress fulfilled 574 out of 974 promises made in the manifesto released before the 2018 assembly election.” He added, “We don’t believe in making false promises like Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.”

Nath also said that Congress opposed the three farm bills and the amendments in the labour laws approved in the monsoon session of Parliament, and said the same would not be implemented in Madhya Pradesh, if Congress returns to power in the state.

Congress needs to win all the 28 assembly seats in the bypolls on November 3 to cross the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member state assembly.

“If Congress comes to power, it will start Corona Samajik Suraksha Pension Yojna for the next of kin of the people who lost their lives due to Covid-19. Similarly, jobs will be provided to a family member of Covid victims. The Congress-led state government will also help the family members of victims in setting up their own businesses,” Nath said.

The manifesto mentions that businessmen affected by the pandemic will be provided loans worth ₹50,000 without any interest to revive. The manifesto also promised to not charge unemployed youth any fee while applying for government jobs. Nath also said if the party is voted to power again in the state, the farm loan waiver scheme— under which loans up to ₹2 lakh for farmers will be forgone— will be resumed. Like the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government, Gaudhan Sewa Yojna ( under which cow dung is procured by the state government at ₹2 per kg) will start in Madhya Pradesh as well, the manifesto further declared.

Besides promising development of the Gwalior-Chambal division, where by-polls will be held on 16 of the 28 assembly seats, the Congress also said that it will notify Keer, Meena and Pardhi tribes as Scheduled Tribes (ST).

In its manifesto, the Congress also promised to start an annual award of ₹1 lakh person for a person working in the field of women empowerment, safety, security and welfare.

MP Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, “Earlier in September, MP Congress committee had released the sample draft on local manifestos for all the 28 assembly seats, but that was not the final agenda plan. The final draft of the manifesto was released on Saturday. Nobody raised any question from the party. It is BJP working on manufacturing propaganda against our list of promises.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government termed Congress’ manifesto “a document of lies” (kapat patra). State home minister Narottam Mishra said, “Congress promises are just going to be on paper and they have no intention to fulfill them. Earlier, they had cheated voters in the name of the farm loan waiver, and now nobody in the state is going to believe the new promises.”

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