The Congress party has emerged as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh after the results of Assembly Elections were declared on the 11th. With support from elected candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, the Congress party looks set to form the government in the state.
To topple BJP in Madhya Pradesh, where it has been in power for 15 years, the Congress party promised a plethora of sops for various sections of the electorate. Now that it has won the elections, it is a good time to revisit some of the promises the Congress had made in its manifesto.
For farmers, the Congress party promised a loan waiver and to reduce their electricity bills by half. The party also promised them a tax break for petrol and diesel. And for farmer cooperatives, a commission for the regulation of pension was promised as well. Food Processing Industries were promised exemption from GST as well. Children of farmers were promised for fives years concessions in the interest rates on loans to felicitate their self-employment.
The party had an entirely separate category for doles to youth. Self-employed youth were promised Rs. 4,000 per month as assistance. Industries that provided jobs to youth were assured Rs. 10,000 as salary grant. Youth researchers and investors were promised a prize money of Rs. 10 lakhs. Youth entrepreneurs have assured loans at concessional rates. Laptops for students who secure 70% in class 12 board exams were also part of the manifesto. For women aged between 17-45, smartphones were assured. College-going women were promised two-wheeler vehicles at no-interest on their loans.
In addition, women will be given 51 thousand rupees for their marriage. Women will be given free education right till PhD. The Congress party assured more support for women self help groups. Not only would they be given a loan waiver but additional loans will also be provided at concessional rates. More than that, 10 sewing machines will be provided for free to those groups involved in stitching.
When it comes to reservations, the Congress party went all out as well. Reservations of 27% were promised to Backward classes. The Congress also promised an increase in social security pensions for economically weaker sections of the society. Pensions under the Pension Yojana will be increased to Rs. 1000 from Rs. 300. Citizens over a hundred years of age have been promised a reward of Rs. 1 lakh as well.
The most interesting, perhaps, was the Congress party’s promises which indicate its desire to shed its anti-Hindu image. The party promised to pass the “Maa Narmada Trustee Act”. Its manifesto also promised a boost to Sanskrit as it promised to promote the language and establish educational institutions for its preservation. Laws will be made to give the legal status of a living unit to all the sacred rivers mentioned in Hindu Shastras. The most significant, however, was the promise to construct the Ram Path from Chitrakoot to the borders of the state.
The electorate also appears to care more about monetary benefits promised by parties more than actual assets provided to them. For instance, about 30 lakh families were provided with free LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana between March 2017 and December 2018. And yet, it doesn’t appear to have translated into electoral benefits for the BJP. Furthermore, various other issues such as Upper Caste anger due to the amendment in the SC/ST Act amendment appears to have contributed to BJP’s demise in the state.
Considering the extravagant promises made by the Congress party, the economic health of the state is likely to suffer a significant blow. But given their track record of fulfilling promises made in their manifesto, such as the loan waiver for farmers in Karnataka that never happened, it is unclear how many of these promises will be actually fulfilled.