A political outfit in Chhattisgarh has offered to pay Rs 1,750 every month to those who cast a vote in its favour. But there's a catch: it will make the payments only if it comes to power!
Chhattisgarh Vikas Party, a party formed in February last year that promises justice to the indigenous inhabitants of the state, has rolled out several attractive promises to voters in Chhattisgarh that is going to assembly polls in late 2008.
PR Khunte, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Sarangarh who defected and joined the Congress in late 2003 and then quit that party too in early 2004, is the president of Chhattisgarh Vikas Party. <b1>
In a 62-page booklet, "Resolution of Economic Freedom", the party has committed itself to implementing the Votership Pension Scheme. Under it the party promises to pay Rs.1,750 monthly to voters.
"The offer will be implemented but only for those who cast votes in favour of the Chhattisgarh Vikas Party and help it to form the government in the assembly polls due in late 2008," party spokesman Sushil Bhole Verma told IANS.
"The monthly cash commitment would stand only if party came to power," he said.
Asked how they proposed to find out who voted for their party, Verma said initially they only expected members to vote in its favour. The party will soon be launching a membership drive.
The booklet also alleges that the state is in the grip of vested interests from outside - among them bureaucrats, politicians, agents and industrialists - while the party will secure the interest of the indigenous people of Chhattisgarh.
The party has published the names of 13 senior politicians belonging to the state's ruling BJP as well as the main opposition Congress, alleging that they had exploited the state.
"Almost seven years after the state was carved out, Chhattisgarh has become one of the most backward states of the country only because 13 people have managed to exploit the people of the state economically, politically and socially," the booklet says.
Those named include former union minister Vidya Charan Shukla who is presently out of the political mainstream, senior Congress leader Motilal Vora, Chief Minister Raman Singh of the BJP and his senior cabinet colleague Brijmohan Agrawal.
Chhattisgarh Vikas Party has urged voters to ask why outsiders were holding key constitutional posts, including that of the chief minister, even though that was not the case in other states. "If the party comes to power, it will thoroughly investigate the undeclared earnings and assets of 13 exploiters and will take legal action against them and also seize their property if found to be more than their known source of income. Their undeclared assets would be used for development of the state," the booklet says.
P Raghavan, a Chhattisgarh cadre Indian administrative officer who retired this year, is the working president of the party.