From farm loan waiver and other sops to farmers, freebies like laptops for students and smart phones for below poverty line women to a commission for cow protection, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday made a plethora of promises in its manifesto for the Karnataka assembly polls to reach out to various sections.
As it seeks to wrest the state from the Congress, the BJP said Rs 1.5 lakh crore will be spent on irrigation projects and farm loans of up to Rs 1 lakh borrowed from nationalised and cooperative banks will be waived if it is voted to power.
The manifesto, unveiled by Karnataka BJP president and its chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, says a ‘white paper’ will be brought out on the state’s financial health under the Congress rule after the BJP forms a government.
The manifesto said a Rs 5,000 crore ‘Raitha Bandhu Market Intervention Fund’ would be launched to cushion farmers against the effects of price fluctuations.
It said farmers would be sent to countries like Israel and China every year to study best practices in agriculture.
The manifesto said Rs 25,000 and 3 gm of gold will be provided to brides of families living Below Poverty Line at the time of marriage under the ‘Vivaha Mangala’ scheme.
Targeting the vast constituency of women, the party promised sanitary napkins for BPL women at Re 1 under the ‘Stree Suvidha’ Scheme.
It said 300 ‘Mukhya Mantri Annapoorna Canteens’ would be opened to provide meals at affordable price. The state’s Congress government already runs Indira Canteens -- a chain of fast-food joints -- in several places.
The BJP, which has made alleged corruption under the Siddaramaiah government a major electoral plank, promised to restore the efficacy of the office of Lokayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman.
The party has often accused the Siddaramaiah government of having weakened the anti-corruption watchdog and diminished its importance by bringing it under the anti-corruption bureau. It claims the Anti Corruption Bureau is being used by the Congress government as a tool to target its opponents.
There will be a 24x7 anti-corruption helpline directly under the chief minister’s office to enable people to report instances of corruption, the manifesto said.
It has also promised to enact a Karnataka Whistleblower Act to protect those exposing corruption.
The “Gau Seva Ayog”, disbanded by the Congress government, will be revived, the manifesto said.
The BJP government had formed a commission for protection and conservation of cow and its progeny in 2012, but it was scrapped by the Siddaramaiah government, which entrusted the task to the Animal Welfare Board.
The manifesto said the BJP government would launch ‘Gobar-dhana Yojane’ to help farmers monetise cow dung.
The BJP will launch ‘Mukhya Mantri Laptop Yojane’ under which every student enrolling in a college will be given a laptop free of cost. Similarly, women of BPL families will get free smart phones under ‘Mukhyamantri Smart Phone Yojane’.
The manifesto said the BJP government would take steps for making Bengaluru, the IT hub of the country, a world class “zero garbage” city.
Bengaluru got the unenviable moniker of “garbage city” during the last few years, with both BJP and the ruling Congress blaming each other for the civic mess.
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje said the manifesto was a “vision document” which reflected people’s aspirations and expectations.
Over three lakh common people as also experts were consulted and their views incorporated in the manifesto, she said.
The manifesto was released at a function after the state BJP leaders paid homage party MLA and its candidate for Jayanagar seat B N Vijaykumar, who died of a massive heart attack on Friday. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar was also present.
Polling for 223 seats of the 224-member assembly will be held on May 12 and counting of votes will be taken up on May 15.