New Delhi: Following the two-day session of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) — the highest decision-making body of the party — in Hyderabad, the party Sunday announced six guarantees for the upcoming Telangana elections at a public meeting.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced the Mahalakshmi scheme under which women will receive Rs 2,500 every month, get LPG cylinders at Rs 500 and free travel on RTC buses across the state.
“I, along with my colleagues, had the opportunity to be a part of the birth of this great state of Telangana,” said Sonia. “Now, it is our duty to elevate it to new heights.”
“It has been my dream to see a Congress government in Telangana that will work for all sections of society,” she added.
Following this, party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced five more guarantees.
The first was the Rythu Bharosa guarantee, under which farmers and tenant farmers will receive Rs 15,000 annually, agricultural labourers will get Rs 12,000 and a bonus of Rs 500 will be given for paddy crops.
The second was the Gruha Jyothi guarantee, under which all households will receive free electricity up to 200 units. Next, was the Indiramma Indlu Guarantee that will provide those without homes, house sites and Rs 5 lakh. Fighters in the Telangana movement will also receive a 250 sq yard plot under this scheme.
Under the Yuva Vikasam guarantee, students will be granted Vidya Bharosa cards worth Rs 5 lakh. There will also be a Telangana International School in every mandal.
Finally, under the Cheyutha guarantee, senior citizens will be given a monthly pension of Rs 4,000 and Rs 10 lakh Rajiv Arogyasari insurance will also be made available, Kharge said.
In its appeal to the people of Telangana, the party accused the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) of establishing a “family rule”.
“The resources in the new state, meant for its people, have instead been siphoned off by those in power,” said the appeal. “Instead of the promised golden future, they have dragged the state into the past by ruling like the Nizams.
The announcements came after the extended CWC met for a session Sunday, which was attended by about 150 leaders.
The CWC also heard reports from the states that are going to polls soon and appealed to the voters of Telangana to choose the Congress.
In his opening remarks at the extended CWC meeting, Kharge declared that the agenda of the meeting was to discuss the upcoming polls and election preparedness for the Lok Sabha 2024. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also spoke to the media Sunday and said that the party had taken a decision to demand the Women’s Reservation Bill in the special Parliament session on 18 September.
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‘Maintain discipline, work day & night’
Kharge at the meeting Sunday expressed confidence that the party will win decisive mandates in the upcoming elections in five states.
“The meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee concludes by expressing its confidence that the Indian National Congress will receive a decisive mandate from the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana in the assembly elections that will be held shortly,” said the resolution passed after the meeting.
“It also reaffirms the readiness of the party organisation for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections that are due in April-May 2024,” the resolution added.
During the meeting, Kharge took stock of the poll preparedness from all the leaders.
“I want to ask the state chiefs if the mandal, bloc and district-level Congress committees are ready. Are these committees holding regular programmes in the states where they have been formed? Have you started ear-marking potential candidates (for the Lok Sabha polls),” asked Kharge.
He further asked the rank and file of the party to maintain discipline and not go to the media with statements against other party leaders.
“We all face ups and downs in our lives, but we should always maintain discipline…No leader becomes a leader without discipline. People will only follow and listen to us if we stay disciplined,” he said.
“We should remember that we should not do anything that affects the party adversely for the purposes of satisfying our ego or to score points for ourselves,” he added, emphasising that the party’s victory in the Karnataka elections was only because the party fought unitedly.
This is not the time for us to rest, he said, adding, “We have to work hard day and night.”
Kharge also remarked that 2024 marks the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s election as Congress President. “The most fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi would be to oust the BJP from power,” he added.
‘Pass Women’s Reservation Bill’
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the meeting Sunday, Pawan Khera said the core committee of the CWC Saturday had taken a decision to demand the Women’s Reservation Bill to be passed during the special session of the Parliament.
“The history of the women’s reservation bill is very interesting. It goes back to 1989 when our late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi ensured that there was a one-third reservation in elected local bodies for women. There was an attempt made to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill (1989). It got passed in Lok Sabha, but fell in Rajya Sabha because the then opposition did not cooperate,” said Khera.
He added that in 1993, a bill for women’s reservation in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas was passed. “Again, it fell in another House. Then Dr Manmohan Singh, when he became the Prime Minister…this particular Bill got passed in the Rajya Sabha and it is still alive.”
Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Rao’s daughter, K. Kavitha, held a hunger strike in Delhi in March this year to demand that the women’s reservation bill be passed. The Congress had boycotted that protest.
(Edited by Richa Mishra)
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