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Karnataka: Karnataka elections 2018: BJP pledges China trips, loan waiver, cow panel | India News

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BENGALURU: BJP’s manifesto for Karnataka released on Friday stands out for its focus on the farm sector at a time when rural distress has turned into a wedge theme. It promised to waive farm loans up to Rs 1 lakh availed of from cooperative as well as nationalised banks per person, bettering the deal Congress promised to the politically crucial constituency.

Congress’s promise of waiver was confined to loans taken from cooperative banks. The competitive use of loan write-offs means farmers will see their debt burden coming down irrespective of who forms the government. JD(S), the other player, has been even more generous and has promised farmers total relief from farm loans. Promises of loan waivers were big factors in last year’s elections in UP and Punjab.

Significantly, until the UP polls, BJP had resisted the temptation to promise waivers. The Karnataka manifesto shows that the party has overcome its reluctance. The 60-page manifesto, which BJP claimed to have been crowd-sourced, had the feel of a budget copy as it allocated funds for certain programmes. Yeddyurappa claimed the manifesto was realistic and would be implemented in toto.

He claimed the assurances would swing 2%-3% votes in the party’s favour. The party also promised to set up Mukhya Mantri Annapoorna Canteens on the lines of existing Indira Canteens to provide food at subsidised rates to the urban poor. Three canteens in each district headquarters and one in every each taluk headquarters would be set up.

It didn’t mention whether Indira Canteens would be renamed. Free smartphones and free sanitary napkins for women below poverty line (BPL), laptops for students, 3gm of gold and Rs 25,000 for each BPL woman who gets married, a commission for protection of cows and free trips to China for farmers are among a host of promises in BJP’s Karnataka manifesto.

It also pledges Rs 1.5 lakh crore investment on irrigation in five years. The manifesto was released by BJP’s CM nominee B S Yeddyurappa on Friday, eight days before polling and a week after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had spelled out his party’s poll promises.

The manifesto promised food security for all through the Annadasoha scheme on the lines of existing Anna Bhagya programme of the Siddaramaiah government.

Updated: May 4, 2018 — 7:12 pm

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