Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday tweeted that his party would make Mayoral elections direct, since good leaders are needed to build smart cities. Ahead of the 2014 national election, the BJP had promised to build 100 smart cities. But while 98 cities have been selected by the government for the flagship project, and Rs 500 crore allocated for each, critics say progress in the project has been tardy.
"Real smart cities are built by good leaders. To improve quality of life in our cities we will move to directly elected Mayors with 5 yr terms & elected councils. Administration will be run by multidisciplinary teams of specialists & experts accountable to the Mayor & council," Mr Gandhi tweeted today.
Under the Smart Cities project, 20 cities were announced In January 2016, followed by 13 cities in May 2016, 27 cities in September 2016 and 30 cities in June 2017. The total proposed investment in the 99 Smart City Mission is about Rs 2.03 lakh crore.
The Congress is set to release its manifesto, but Mr Gandhi has been sharing its main features over the last month.
From the big ticket basic income scheme to a Rs 72,000 dole for the poorest of the poor families, right to health and abolition of angel tax, Mr Gandhi has been consistently announcing the party's priorities.
Mr Gandhi's other big promise, made yesterday, was to fill up the 22 lakh job vacancies in the government within 10 months, if his party comes to power in the Centre.
Today, there are 22 Lakh job vacancies in Government.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 31, 2019
We will have these vacancies filled by 31st March, 2020.
Devolution of funds from the Center to each State Govt for healthcare, education etc. will be linked to these vacant positions being filled.
The Congress chief has already looped in entrepreneurs for job creation, one of the top priorities of his party, which has been consistently targeting the BJP-led government over the issue for more than two years.
Senior Congress leader Rajeev Gowda said the focus in the Congress manifesto is about employment from rural to urban jobs.
The party has had extensive consultations with public and experts and feels their promises are doable. "We have focused on what can be delivered and are meeting the aspirations," said Mr Gowda.