The Congress will waive all farm loans within 10 days of forming the new government, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Wednesday as she released her party's (third) manifesto for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, which begins tomorrow with voting in the western districts.
Ms Gandhi Vadra said the Congress, which has already released a manifesto of poll promises for women and youth in UP, had identified employment and inflation as the state's biggest issues, and promised to make 20 lakh government jobs available if it is elected to power.
She also referred to the tragic attempted suicide of a debt-laden shoe trader in UP's Baghpat - one of the towns voting tomorrow - who this morning accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "not (being) a well-wisher of small traders and farmers" before consuming a poisonous substance.
"This is very sad but there are similar scenes across UP... small traders are hassled and there is no support from the government," Ms Gandhi Vadra said, hitting out at the centre and the Union Budget for making "big promises for big businessmen" and offering nothing for small traders.
"We have released three manifestos - for women, for youth, and today the general one. Everything is based on suggestions from the public. We talked to one lakh people... including common people, labourers, farmers and people of all classes. This is a public manifesto," she said.
"Jobs and inflation are the biggest issues. Like Chhattisgarh, farmers' loans will be waived off as soon as our government is formed," she said, adding, "Paddy and wheat will be purchased at Rs 2500 per quintal and sugarcane at Rs 400 per quintal."
The reference to the purchase of paddy and sugarcane is crucial given the concerns raised by UP farmers with whom the Yogi Adityanath government has yet to make long-standing payments.
Electricity bills for farmers will be halved, bills for Covid-affected periods will be waived and farmers who lost crops will get Rs 3,000 as compensation.
On the subject of jobs Ms Gandhi Vadra said 20 lakh government jobs will be made available.
"A huge backlog of 12 lakh jobs will be filled in the public sector, including police, healthcare and education. Apart from this, eight lakh more jobs will be given," she said, while also promising financial assistance of Rs 25,000 to families most affected by the Covid pandemic.
The ruling BJP and the Samajwadi Party released their manifestos yesterday, with several identical promises to voters, including assurances on job creation and free electricity for farmers.
UP will vote for a new government in a seven-phase poll that begins tomorrow.
Votes will be counted on March 10.