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Chhattisgarh polls: Congress to focus on farm loan waiver, halving of power bills

The party is likely to have separate campaigns for rural and urban areas. It will focus on improving irrigation capacity in rural areas and implement a new industrial policy in urban areas

August 20, 2018 / 03:45 PM IST
Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

The Indian National Congress is hoping to storm back to power in Chhattisgarh riding on two key election promises: complete waive off farm loans and slashing electricity bills by half.

According to a report by The Economic Times, the party is planning to roll out different campaigns for rural and urban areas. With around 76 percent of the state’s population living in rural areas, the Congress campaign will be based on the promise of a total farm loan waiver.

The party is planning to highlight failures of Chief Minister Raman Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, especially failures in rural areas. It is also expected to present its vision including increasing irrigation capacity, training of village youth to open cottage industry, a detailed plan to treat agricultural waste and improving livestock breed, the report stated.

The rural campaign will have a catchy line in Chhattisgarhi — “Chhattisgarh ke chaar chinhaari – Narwa, Garuwa, Ghurva, Baari," it said. There are four symbols of Chhattisgarh – rivulets, livestock, domestic dump and farming.

“Even after 15 years in power, the Raman Singh government has only raised irrigation capacity to 30 percent. It is a shame especially in a state which has 43 rivers flowing through it. Our first poll promise of ‘narwa’ is on that. We would invest in rainwater harvesting and channelize all rivers for irrigation,” Congress’ state unit chief Bhupesh Baghel told the newspaper.


The Congress campaign would also focus on rights of Scheduled Tribes, who constitute around 32 percent of Chhattisgarh’s population. The party is expected to promise them the right to their own land under the Forest Rights Act, the report said.

In the urban areas, the party is likely to focus on implementation of new industrial policy and promise food processing plants. Congress remains a key player in urban areas, holding influence in half of the 46 nagar palikas in the state.

The assembly election in Chhattisgarh is scheduled to vote later this year.

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