Karnataka assembly elections: BJP manifesto promises loan waiver, China training for farmers
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto for the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections, released on Friday, promised something for everyone --a loan waiver for distressed farmers, a fund that will help women to form cooperatives and market their products, and skill development programmes and free laptops for college students.
The manifesto, titled “Namma Karnatakakakke Namma Vachana” (Our Karnataka, Our Promise), said that if elected to power, the BJP government will get nationalised banks to write off loans of up to Rs1 lakh owed by farmers; the announcement will be made at the very first cabinet meeting. Chief minister Siddaramaiah’s Congress government has waived loans worth Rs 8,500 crore, but only those extended by cooperative banks.
Within hours of the release of the manifesto, Siddramaiah alleged that it was a copy of the Congress manifesto while Congress president Rahul Gandhi described it as a “poorly crafted fantasy”.
In the document, the BJP said it would set apart Rs 5,000 crore to fund market intervention for farmers during price fluctuations. The party also said it would spend Rs 1.50 lakh crore by 2023 to complete all irrigation projects in the state and will start a free Rs 2 lakh accident insurance cover for landless farm workers. The manifesto promised to send 1,000 farmers under a fellowship scheme to Israel and China to learn the best practices in agriculture.
As many as two million dry land small and marginal farmers will get Rs 10,000 each under the ‘Negila Yogi’ scheme, said the 64-page document released by BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa.
A BJP government made provisions for women-run cooperatives and promised skill development programmes and free laptops to all college students.
Hubli, Bengaluru, Raichur, Kalburgi, Mysuru, and Mangaluru will get start-up incubators and co-working spaces to encourage entrepreneurship.It promised to set up 60 state-of-the-art business process outsourcing (BPO) complexes and set aside a corpus of Rs 250 crore to extend low-interest loans to encourage entrepreneurs to form BPO businesses.
Claiming that its aim was ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (development for all), the manifesto said R6,500 crore will be spent on building house for ST and Rs 8,500 crore for SC communities. Other backward classes (OBC) will be allocated Rs 7,500 crore for a similar housing programme.
To counter the Congress government’s Indira canteens that serve subsidized food, the BJP promises to set up 300 Annapoorna canteens.
The party promised to set up two All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the state. All community health centers will get subsidized medical shops and emergency ambulance services will spread to all corners of the state. It also promised 24X7 power for all households in Karnataka.
For Bengaluru, it promised to extend the Metro to all parts of the city, rapid implementation of suburban train services and Rs 2,500 crore to rejuvenate its polluted lakes.
Reacting to the BJP’s manifesto, chief minister Siddaramiah said: We do Indira canteen, they will say Annapoorna canteen. Why hasn’t BJP done it in any of the states they are ruling? Why haven’t the Centre waived loans of farmers upto Rs 1 lakh? The manifesto is a pack of lies, trying to fool people.”
Siddaramiah recalled that Yeddyurappa, in his previous stint as chief minister, when asked to waive farm loans, had replied ‘does the state government have a money printing machine?’