Ap Congress president D. Srinivas and CM Dr. Rajasekhar Reddy released the APAssembly Election Manifesto in the wake of stiff competition from the TDP that has promised several freebies to the voter including TV sets. AP Congress maintained that its agenda was to fulfil the development oriented tasks it began five years ago.
Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy released the manifesto that did not have any major claim apart from uniterrupted power supply for all from June and an additional two kg rice per person.
The manifesto contained only a handful of things that are proposed to be launched in addition to the existing schemes.
Prime among the new promises are to increase the quantity of rice from four to six kg per person per month, uninterrupted power supply to all from June 1, 2009, nine-hour power supply to the agriculture sector, provision of LPG connections to every household in the next four years, creation of an additional ayacut of 24.5 lakh acres in Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Prakasam, Nellore and other districts by taking up new irrigation projects after the restrictions imposed by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal were lifted from the contentious Telangana issue. Claiming that his government was not for populism but development, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today lashed out at the opposition for”promising freebies”to the people.
” Ours is not just populism alone. Development has been our priority ever since we came to power in May 2004, Reddy observed while addressing a press conference after releasing the party manifesto for the 2009 elections here.
Claiming that the”aam aadmi”is very happy in Andhra Pradesh, he said that they were not”promising freebies”to the people like the TDP promising free colour televisions and cash transfer scheme.
Replying to questions, APPCC president D Srinivas said, they were seriously pursuing the issue of four per cent reservations for Muslims.”We are strongly pursuing the legal case on reservations and analysing all aspects in this regard. I think we will be finally successful in that,” Srinivas said.
On the alleged injustice done to backward classes in the allocation of party tickets for the elections, the PCC president admitted that they could not achieve their target of 84 Assembly seats as the sitting MLAs had to be re-nominated.Refusing to join the race of populist schemes with the opposition parties, the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh Monday released its election manifesto, pledging to continue the welfare schemes implemented during the last five years.
Instead of promising any major freebies, the Congress has decided to seek votes on the basis of its “credibility and performance”.
The party, which has already set a goal to build houses for all homeless, promised to make the state free of huts. It promised toilets, electricity supply, gas connection and other basic amenities to every household.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who released the manifesto, told reporters that with the Reliance Industries starting gas production in Krishna Godavari basin and gas connectivity in place over the next four years, the cost of the cooking gas will reduce by half.
Free education from kinder-garden to post-graduation, cooking gas connection and basic amenities to every household, increasing duration of free electricity to farmers and the quantity of Rs.2 a kg rice for poor, are the highlights of the manifesto, which promises no populist schemes like those announced by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.
Chiranjeevi has promised to make a gas cylinder available for Rs.100 against the existing price of Rs.305. He also promised a month’s ration for a poor family for Rs.100. The party has promised free education up to post-graduation for girls and all students belonging to weaker sections.
The TDP has promised a free colour television and a cash dole of Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 per month to every poor and middle class family.
Interestingly, the opposition parties have promised to continue the free electricity scheme, which was promised by the Congress in 2004.
“We are promising to continue all development and welfare programs in a more focused and efficient manner in the next five years. During the last five years, we made the common man happy and our goal is to make him even more happy,” said the chief minister, known popularly as YSR.
Listing out schemes like free electricity to farmers, Rs.2 a kg rice, loans at cheap rate of interest, construction of irrigation projects, building of eight million houses for poor, YSR said no other party can even dare to dream of launching and implementing them.
“We are confident that in the matter of credibility, development and welfare, nobody can compete with our government,” he said.
The Congress promised to increase the supply of free electricity to the farmers from seven to nine hours a day from June 1 and hike the quantity of subsidised rice from four to six kg per head for poor families.
While the manifesto is silent on the demand for separate statehood to the Telangana region, YSR reiterated that a committee of the legislature would go in to the concerns and problems related to the demand.The ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh has said it will go to the electorate on the basis of its “credibility and performance” instead of relying on populist promises.
Releasing the party’s election manifesto for the state assembly elections, the Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said he does not believe in competing with other parties in populist promises like giving free electricity or free cell phone to the voters.
“What we are promising is that we will continue all our development and welfare programmes in a more focused and efficient manner in the next five years.
“During last five years we made common man happy and our goal is to make him even more happy”, he said.
While the main opposition Telugu Desam has promised free colour television and direct cash transfer every month to every eligible household, the Praja Rajyam party has offered a pack of monthly food requirement for Rs100 and gas cylinder for Rs100 and the BJP has promised free cell phone, Congress has refused to get in to that race.
The only promises in Congress manifesto in the populist mode are increasing the quantity of the cheap rice and duration of free electricity supply to the farmers.
“The quantity of rice at Rs 2 per kg will be increased from 4 kg per head to 7.6 kg per head per month so the poor families don’t have to buy additional rice from the open market at a higher price”, Reddy said. The increase in the rice quantity will put an additional burden of Rs40 billion per annum and taking the total cost of food subsidy to Rs70 billion per annum, about a quarter of which will come from the centre.
He also promised to increase the supply of free electricity to the farmers from seven hours to nine hours per day from June 1.