Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election 2023: Congress Unveils Manifesto “Vachan Patra”
In preparation for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, the Congress party revealed its comprehensive manifesto, titled “Vachan Patra” (Promise Letter). The 106-page document outlines a host of ambitious promises, ranging from creating a state-level Indian Premier League (IPL) team to providing substantial health insurance and financial support to the citizens of Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh will witness a single-phased election. The polling is set to take place on November 17, with the results set to be announced on December 3.
Welfare and Empowerment Initiatives
The Vachan Patra includes several welfare and empowerment programs. The highlights of these initiatives are as follows:
- Health and Accident Insurance: The Congress promises a health insurance cover of ₹25 lakh and accident insurance coverage of up to ₹10 lakh for all families in Madhya Pradesh.
- Caste-Based Survey: The party emphasizes the importance of conducting a caste-based survey to better understand the state’s social demographics. The Bihar government’s recent survey findings, revealing the significant population of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), influenced this approach.
- OBC Reservations: The Congress’s manifesto pledges a 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs. This commitment follows Chhattisgarh’s legislative decision to provide OBCs with a 27% reservation, pending approval from the Governor.
- Farm Loan Waiver: The manifesto includes a farm loan waiver of up to ₹2 lakh, aiming to alleviate the financial burdens of farmers in the state.
- Old Pension Scheme: The Congress commits to implementing the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), reflecting the interests of certain sections of the workforce.
The Vachan Patra proposes support for agricultural initiatives, promising to purchase wheat from farmers at ₹2,600 per quintal and rice at ₹2,500 per quintal.
Unemployed youth in Madhya Pradesh could receive an allowance ranging from ₹1,500 to ₹3,000, offering a financial cushion to those in need.
The Congress’s Vachan Patra had a series of programs designed to empower women in Madhya Pradesh:
- Nari Samman Yojana: Building on a previous promise, the party commits to providing ₹1,500 allowances for women and selling LPG cylinders at ₹500, reinforcing its support for women’s welfare.
- Free Bus Rides: The Congress pledges free bus rides for women in metro areas, mirroring a similar initiative in Karnataka.
Cow-Dung Purchase Program
A unique feature of the manifesto is the Nandini Gau-Dhan Yojana, under which cow dung will be purchased at ₹2 per kg.
Indian Premier League (IPL) Team for Madhya Pradesh
The Congress has expressed its ambition to establish an IPL team in Madhya Pradesh, aiming to further promote cricket in the state.
Detailed Promises and Comprehensive Approach
The Vachan Patra contains 1,290 promises categorized under 59 subjects, with 101 main guarantees. The manifesto covers various aspects of governance, addressing the needs and aspirations of different sections of the state’s population, including women, youth, farmers, workers, families, belief systems, and social justice.
Caste Census Advocacy
The Congress has made a strong commitment to conducting a caste census, taking cues from Bihar’s recent endeavors. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has promised a nationwide caste census if the party attains power after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Party Slogans and Election Dynamics
The official slogan for the elections, “Congress Aayegi, Khushhaali Laayegi” (The Congress will come and bring happiness), was introduced by the party.
Fiscal Management and Scheme Evaluation
When questioned about the financial feasibility of the numerous welfare schemes, Dr. Rajendra Kumar Singh, the head of the manifesto committee, clarified that the party intends to review and potentially modify or discard several of the BJP’s existing programs, considering their efficacy and relevance. He mentioned that some of these schemes were created for corrupt purposes rather than public benefit.
Chief Minister’s Reaction to the Vachan Patra
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan criticized the Congress’s manifesto, characterizing it as a “manifesto of lies.” He pointed out the party’s previous unfulfilled promises and expressed skepticism about their credibility among the public.