Bihar Assembly elections 2020: Congress promises loan waivers in 'Badlav Patra'
The Congress on Wednesday released its manifesto for the Bihar Assembly elections promising loan waivers and wide ranging sops to farmers.
The party also vowed to check the implementation of the three “anti-farm laws” brought in by the Centre.
The manifesto, referred as “Badlav Patra” (document of change), mentioned development schemes for almost every sector in the state, an unemployment allowance of Rs 1,500 per month and inclusion of Maithili language in the school syllabus. It also promised a 50 per cent rebate to all domestic power consumers for the first 100 units.
The manifesto was released at party’s state headquarters at Sadaquat Ashram in the presence of national general secretaries Randeep Singh Surjewala and Tariq Anwar and AICC Bihar incharge Shakti Singh Gohil, actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, former Kerala governor Nikhil Kumar and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra.
“Our government will waive loans of all the farmers with small and medium land holdings if we come to power. We will provide financial help under Rajiv Gandhi Krishi Nyaya Yojana on the lines of Chhattisgarh to farmers having less than two acres, and provide 50 per cent discount on the electricity bills of all farmers,” Gohil said.
“We will also bring legislation to check the implementation of the ‘three black farm laws’ in the state just like we have done in Punjab,” he said.
Chhattisgarh and Punjab have Congress-led governments.
Bihar is primarily an agrarian state, with over 75 per cent of its population engaged in agriculture and allied activities. Over 98 per cent farmers have marginal, small and medium landholdings ranging between zero and 10 hectares.
The manifesto promises free education to girl children from kindergarten to the postgraduate, filling up 2.42 lakh vacancies of teachers in schools within 18 months of coming to power, similar pay for similar work for contractual teachers, and scooters for girls who score 90 per cent in Class XII board examinations.
“We will include Maithili once again as a compulsory subject in the school syllabus. Though it figures in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, it is not taught in the schools. This has led to erosion in its higher studies. Students become unable to take the UPSC exam in the language due to this,” Mishra said.
For a state that has lagged behind in sports for decades since the separation of Jharkhand, the manifesto promises government jobs to sportspersons who win medals at international levels. It also talks about encouraging regular sports competitions.
Since employment is a major issue in the state in this poll season, the Congress echoed the promises made by ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of giving 10 lakh jobs, including filling up 4.5 lakh vacancies within 18 months.
“The four-time chief minister (read Nitish Kumar) has cheated the youths in the state and made a new record of not giving jobs. Our party will ensure that area-specific surveys are conducted and employment is made available accordingly. We will also provide Rs 1,500 per month unemployment allowance,” Babbar said while releasing the manifesto.
Surjewala said the Congress would bring the “right to health” and “right to water” in the state. He said the party would focus on creating employment opportunities in the rural areas.
Surjewala came down heavily on prohibition in Bihar. He said the liquor ban was “limited only to paper and a parallel economy is running with the nexus of the mafia, police and the state government”.
“Around 3.5 lakh people have been arrested in liquor-related cases and their families have been ruined. The liquor mafia is being patronised by Nitish. A parallel liquor industry is flourishing and the JDU and the BJP are making money from it,” Surjewala said.
The Congress is contesting 70 out of the 243 Assembly seats in alliance with the RJD, and three Left parties. The RJD will contest 144 seats, the CPI-ML 19, the CPI six and the CPM four.
Bihar will go to polls on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be out on November 10.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) also released its manifesto on Wednesday, called as “Bihar first, Bihari first vision document”.
Party chief Chirag Paswan said that his father Ram Vilas got it prepared while in hospital. It promises a separate department for migrant workers, a large number of medical and engineering colleges to ensure that the youth do not have to go to other states for studies, and better health facilities.
Chirag used the occasion to attack Nitish and said: “Bihar will lose if Nitish wins. He calls the schemes of the central government as his own. He first opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but now stands with him. He talks about development but encourages casteism in the state.”