Bangalore, April 19, 2013
Twenty five kg of rice at Re 1 for all poor families and free laptops/tablets to pre-university level and graduate students are among a set of allurements to Karnataka’s ruling BJP held out to the electorates in its manifesto for May 5 assembly polls.
Pure drinking water to all citizens, 24X7 uninterrupted power supply and a project to teach good and correct English in Kannada medium schools would all be a reality, said BJP seeking the people’s mandate for the second time.
The manifesto was released by opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in the presence of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, state unit BJP chief Prahllad Joshi, party General Secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar and other state leaders.
Lessons on “cultural nationalism” and moral values are part of promises held out in the field of education on which the party assured the people it would increase the spending from 1 per of GDP to 3 per cent.
The party promised 50 per cent reservation of seats to women in local bodies and eradication of child labour.
Priority for Kannada medium students in higher education and employment, free Wi-Fi and internet for all schools and colleges, introduction of Yoga as part of the syllabus in schools and colleges are among the many promises made.
Mr. Jaitley defended the rice scheme, saying it and the promise to provide laptops could not be construed as populism.
Providing the right to food to the deprived sections would make right to live more meaningful, he said. It was also not populist if students in a state known for IT power were given instruments of IT.
He said BJP had succeeded in installing the party’s first-ever government in the South five years ago and “we have governed and completed full term taking up challenges for the cause of people.”
Mr. Jaitley said whenever the party faced difficult challenges, it stood by values and ideals rather than individuals. “Politically, we have emerged cleaner, stronger and more cohesive.”
“We are now entering with the hope of another mandate to serve (the people)”, he said.
Mr. Shettar said “we have provided good governance and a corruption-free and transparent government”, referring his tenure of nine months and 11 months of his predecessor D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
BJP promises freebies worth Rs 5,500 crore
BANGALORE: Ringing in a freebie culture similar to that practised in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka BJP on Friday promised 16 lakh students free laptops and the poor 25kg of rice at Re 1 a kg. The annual bill for the largesse is expected to be in excess of Rs 5,500 crore.
While free laptops alone are expected to cost upwards of Rs 4,200 crore (at Rs 25,000 per laptop), the rice bill will work out to over Rs 1,300 crore. The huge rice subsidy is targeted at 98 lakh families.
The party’s manifesto promises a project to teach correct English in Kannada-medium schools. Free Wi-Fi will accompany free laptops in government-run schools and colleges. Bangalore, which voted massively for the BJP in 2008 but seems to be veering away, has been wooed with a helicopter ambulance service for emergency health care.
“We are 100% sure the party will come back to power and we will implement the assurances made in the manifesto as soon as possible,” chief minister Jagadish Shettar and BJP leader Arun Jaitley said after releasing the manifesto.
The 19-point manifesto assures Bangaloreans of a new master plan for the city’s development.
A Bangalore Region Metropolitan Governance Bill will be enacted. The government had spoken about this but failed to even start the process. It talks of metropolitan planning committees/boards to plan and coordinate the activities of various agencies, and of directly electing a mayor with a five-year term.
Apartments and housing complexes that reuse/recycle water will get a discount on water bills.
Lessons in cultural nationalism and moral values, priority to Kannada-medium students and introduction of yoga in school syllabus are among the many promises.
“The BJP succeeded in installing its first government in the south five years ago. We have governed and completed (our) full term taking up challenges for the people,” Jaitley said.
To improve infrastructure, the BJP promises to construct helipads in all taluk headquarters. It will cooperate with the Centre to create rail corridors connecting Mysore-Bangalore-Tumkur, Davanagere-Hubli-Belgaum, Bijapur-Bagalkot-Gadag, Gulbarga-Raichur-Bellary and Kasaragod-Mangalore-Karwar.