Congress’s ‘modern’ vision for Madhya Pradesh: IPL team to metro to AI centre | India News

Madhya Pradesh’s own Indian Premier League (IPL) team, an artificial intelligence centre, a promise to conduct the caste census, 27% OBC reservation, and sops for women, farmers and the unemployed youth. These are some of the big promises the Congress has made in its manifesto released on Tuesday.

The 106-page document, which lists 59 promises and 101 main guarantees, was unveiled by former Chief Minister Kamal Nath in Bhopal. The manifesto has sops for farmers and unemployed youth, the two major vote banks on which the party has staked its bets. It has also announced a series of promises for women in hopes of eroding the BJP’s support base.

Mirroring the pro-women policies of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, the Congress has promised to provide women a monthly stipend of Rs 1,500, and LPG gas cylinders for Rs 500. Chouhan routinely attacks Kamal Nath, claiming the Congress leader stopped the Kanya Vivah Yojana in which financial assistance was provided to poor families for their daughters’ marriage.

Nath announced the Beti Vivah Yojana under which assistance of Rs 1.1 lakh will be provided. Similarly, on the lines of the Ladli Laxmi Yojana that earned Chouhan the “Mama” tag, the Congress promises to provide Rs 2.51 lakh to girls from birth to their marriage under the “Meri Bitiya Rani Yojana”. Apart from this the party, taking a cue from its win in Karnataka earlier this year, has promised free bus rides to women, loans up to Rs 25 lakh to women-led startups, and 5,000 sq ft plots to homeless women in rural areas.

For farmers, the party has promised loan waivers, free five horsepower electricity for irrigation, waiver of electricity bills, and support price of Rs 2,600 for wheat and Rs 2,500 for paddy, promising to increase it up to Rs 3,000. Under the Nandani Gau Dhan Yojana, the party has promised to purchase cow dung at Rs 2 per kg.

Festive offer

For the unemployed youth, the party has promised unemployment assistance of Rs 1,500 to 3,000 per month, fill two lakh government job vacancies, create 1 lakh new positions in villages, and turn the state into an industrial hub.

The announcement of an IPL team and the artificial intelligence centre were made to present the party’s vision of Madhya Pradesh as a modern state, said party insiders.

Nath rued that the state has no metro or IPL team of its own. “It is a matter of sadness and I feel ashamed that when I was a central minister I helped other states with metro. In Madhya Pradesh, nobody even got a proposal for a metro. We will make full effort to get our own IPL also,” said the state Congress president.

The Congress has also promised to start the Padho-Padhao Yojana under which government schoolchildren from classes 1 to 8 will get Rs 500 per month, those in classes 9 and 10 will get Rs 1,000 per month, and those in classes 11 and 12 will get Rs 1,500 per month. It has also promised to bring free education to the state.

The Congress has promised 27% reservation to OBCs in government jobs and schemes, along with the promise to conduct a caste census, something which has been promised by senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The manifesto also talks about the implementation of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act in notified tribal areas of the state.

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Focusing on tribal votes, the Congress has said it will raise labour charges of tendu leaf collectors to Rs 4,000 per standard bag.

To consolidate its position among the Scheduled Caste voters, the party has promised to set up the Sant Shiromani Ravidas Kaushal Unnayan (Skill Enhancement) University in Sagar district.

Nath promised to constitute the Narmada Parikrama Parishad and start the Narmada Parikrama Yatra — a part of the party’s soft Hindutva card. In the health sector, the party has promised health insurance of up to Rs 25 lakh for the family and accident insurance of Rs 10 lakh.

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