The cow is in the spotlight again, this time in Telangana.
With Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao spoiling voters in the state with doles and waivers, the BJP has no choice but to play the game by his rules. So, the party's manifesto for the upcoming assembly polls promises loan relief of up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers, free laptops for degree students and -- in keeping with its motto of furthering the bovine cause -- the distribution of one lakh cows among the people every year.
The document, released today by state BJP president K Laxman, contains assurances for the conservative too. It promises a legislation to prevent "forced religious conversions" through monetary offers and inducements, besides strict regulation of liquor sale and the deportation of Rohingya migrants. Telangana goes to the polls on December 7.
The assurances, however, do not stop there. The BJP, which is keen on making a mark in the state this time, vows to further sweeten the deal for farmers through the distribution of free seeds and pump sets. Providing an incentive for girls to pick the education option, it has promised free cycles for female students from Class 7 to Class 10 and mini-scooters at 50% subsidy to those opting for higher education.
The BJP also took a page from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government's 2BHK Housing scheme, promising free houses to all eligible people in the economically backward section by 2022. Up to Rs 5,000 will be paid to them every month by way of rent until the construction work is completed.
Besides this, the BJP has said that it will bring Telangana under the ambit of the Narendra Modi government's Ayushman Bharat health scheme -- something that Mr Rao's government shied away from earlier this year -- and also set up generic medicine centres at every administrative unit.
Among the other assurances made in the manifesto are a dole of Rs 3,116 per month to the unemployed; a gift of Rs 1 lakh and 12 gm gold to poor women at the time of marriage; subsidy for senior citizens who want to visit Kailash Mansarovar, Kashi and Puri; and skill development classes at Madrassas. Additionally, it has promised to allocate Rs 100 crore to set up a "linguistic board" for Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya and Hindi speakers in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)
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