Congress and CPI(M) release party manifestos for Himachal assembly elections
Congress Party manifesto lures the youth, while CPI(M) emphasizes on the need of the third alternative to the people
After the nomination round, the next round starts with the declaration of the election manifestos. The party manifestos are one of the most effective ways to lure the voters for any party. Although, a party manifesto is intended to communicate to the voters regarding the principles and plans for the development of the nation or a state, but in India, it’s mostly like a trap to get the votes of a public that reacts to it no better than a herd of sheep. The party manifesto of the Congress was released by the Chairman of the manifesto committee and Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in the presence of Virbhadra Singh, Sheila Dikshit, Birender Chaudhary, State leaders Vidya Stokes, and Kaul Singh Thakur. All the senior leaders promised to deliver whatever has been announced in the party manifesto. All the leaders tried to appear united, having no internal differences at all, but for those who observe well, it wasn’t that convincing.
The State Committee of the CPI(M) also released their party manifesto in a joint conference attended by Dr Onkar Shad, Dr Kuldeep Tanwar and Tikender Panwar. The Left front, joined by CPM, CPI and the Himachal Lokhit Party, is fighting elections at all 68 seats.The manifesto, as expected, suggested a war against the neoliberal policies that are being adopted by both, the Congress and BJP. The party has already been advocating the fact that both the main parties have ruled alternately, but couldn’t’t do much about the financial status of the common man and that of the state. Let’s see what Congress and CPI(M) have got to sell in Himachal to receive the support of the voters.
Highlights of the party manifestos released by the Congress and CPI(M)
The opposition promised an unemployment allowance of 1,000 to all 10+2 pass and graduates with a total family income less than Rs.200,000 per year. In case of Handicapped graduates, who are jobless, Ra. 15,000 per month will be paid as an unemployment allowance. 1000,000 job opportunities will be created annually by boosting skill and vocational enhancement and a 500 crore skill development corporation will be established for the same.
On the other hand, CPI(M) offered to provide Rs. 300 as a wage per day for the workers , 70% reservation for the people of Himachal in all jobs created in the state, and a monthly allowance of Rs.1,000 to the unemployed with an emphasis on the self-employment.
For Students and Education
Congress declared that 10,000 toppers in the board examinations will be given free laptops under Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojana, a special learning laptop to every topper in class 8 in every school and a promised education loan at the rate of 4% to promote higher education. The students will get free travel passes too.
CPI(M) raised the issue of unchecked growth of the private education institutes and universities in the state and hence, suggested implementation of the recommendations of the regulatory authority.
On Industrial Policy, Tourism, Per Capita Income, and Economic Reforms
The Congress ensured the formulation of a new Industrial policy for better investment. To develop tourism and attract more tourists from all over the world, an airport, matching the international standards, will be set near Shimla. Further, the government would implement FDI as it has been supporting it for the better economical development of the state.Growth of per capita income will be ensured.
CPI(M), however, raised suggestion regarding the demand of special status to the Himachal considering its poor financial and tough geographic conditions. The party considered the demand of a 10 percent royalty on per unit electricity produced in Himachal. The manifesto also suggested to put a levy on cement including other industries and the industrial package. Opposed to the implementation of FDI in retail by Congress, CPI(M) declared that it will fight against it in Himachal.
Farmers, Fruit and Apple Growers
Creation of the infrastructure in integrated cold chains, grading and packaging, and agro and food processing by tempting more private investors. The custom duty will be increased to 3 times the present to promote local apples over imported ones. If possible, apple would be put into a special category. Further, efforts will be made to promote the food processing industry. Congress also promised special schemes for the marginal farmers in order to provide them a subsidy on seeds for cultivation.
CPI(M) suggested to put more efforts to save the produce of the farmers by giving 90% subsidy on anti hail nets. Furthermore subsidies for farmers to promote organic farming was one of the main concerns of the party manifesto.
A Corruption Free Government and Better Governance
Both parties, Congress and CPI(M) promised that they would establish a transparent and corruption free government in the state, if came into power. Congress ensured that no tolerance will be shown towards any act of corruption. The first step would be to investigate all the scams of the present Dhumal lead BJP government. To ensure better governance, the Congress would set up an administration commission intended to re-organize the boundaries of all districts, tehsils, and sub-divisions. CPI(M) pointed towards the recent cases of violation of the land acquisition laws provided under Sections 118 of the Indian Constitution by the present government and demanded proper legal action.
Environment and Health
The party manifesto of the Congress did not mention much about the protection of the environment and health care services, while CPI(M) asked for an extra 1000 crore annual grant to save the forests in the hill state. CPI(M) also suggested a ban on the outsourcing of the medical facilities along with providing more staff to the remote tribal areas.
The manifestos from the both parties included offers to provide better infrastructure in the state. CPI(M) blamed the present condition of the roads in Himachal for a negative impact on the tourism industry and promised to recover the state roads from damage. As mentioned before, the Congress has promised an Airport near Shimla that will meet the International standards.
Well, anyone would easily observe that the Congress is tempting the youth, which makes almost 50% of the electors. However, the manifesto could not provide any concrete details and plans for the generation of permanent employment. There was no word about increasing the limit of subsidized LPG cylinders and prices of petroleum. This time, it sounds like government employees do not need much convincing from Congress.
The promise of a corruption free government with a transparent working sounds humorous, especially considering the scams and allegations that flooded the news channels for the last couple of weeks. Even otherwise, it would be nothing more than pulling the leg of BJP by putting only their scams under investigation. Moreover, Congress is not in a position to raise the anti-corruption slogan as Virbhadra Singh is already facing a case in the local court and even from the center, hardly any leader could claim his slate to be a clean one. The corruption prevails among most of the political parties and if you regularly watch the news or read the newspaper, then you can understand that the promise to get rid of the corruption is just a temporary illusion. Moreover, the environmental protection and check on the sale of agricultural and forest land to private universities, religious and charitable institutions, and real estate companies, are two highly sensitive issues which were missing from the manifesto released by the Congress.