The Congress blows the election bugle in Gujarat....bribing the voters?
Close on the heels of promising 15 lakh homes to urban women in five years if voted to power, the Congress fired an electoral missile on Wednesday aimed at rural voters. It promised a 100-yard plot free to landless and homeless in rural Gujarat. The beneficiaries will also be given a Rs 1 lakh loan to construct a 30 square metre house.
This is the fourth such populist promise by the party ahead of the assembly elections in December. The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) has also promised to make petrol, diesel, CNG and fertilizers cheaper by reducing value added tax (VAT) and implement recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission for government employees.
The latest focus is the ‘Ghar Nu Ghar’ scheme which has already caught the fancy of urban voters, especially women, in a big way and threatened the core votebank of chief minister Narendra Modi.
GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia added that 31 lakh families lived in singleroom houses in the state and another 3.34 lakh families in rented houses. “These weakest of all sections in rural areas would benefit from this scheme if they vote the Congress to power,” said Shankersinh Vaghela, the chairman of the Congress campaign committee.
He also promised that his party’s government would become the guarantor for loans given to the homeless and landless in rural areas and shoulder 50% of the interest burden. The rural plots will come with basic infrastructure, a kindergarten nearby and a public plot for recreation.
To fulfill the promises, the party says it will make special arrangements with Hudco, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and other institutions. “If there’s shortage of land in villages, we will purchase it,” Modhwadia said.