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Madhya Pradesh: Congress starts talks with 'stakeholders' to prepare manifesto

The party may promise something on the lines of a statutory income commission for farmers, which it had promised in Karnataka elections, sources said.

May 27, 2018 / 02:29 PM IST

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has started collecting feedback from all "stakeholders" before drawing up its "vision document" or the election manifesto for the coming Assembly elections.

The party may promise something on the lines of a statutory income commission for farmers, which it had promised in Karnataka elections, sources said.

Assembly elections in the BJP-ruled state, where the Congress is out of power for 15 years, are due by year-end.

Speaking to PTI, State Congress Manifesto Committee chief Rajendra Singh said, "We have started the process of taking feedback from various stakeholders, including women, farmers, labourers, youth and people from different walks of society like doctors, lawyers and others, to prepare the vision document (the manifesto)."

When asked if there would be separate manifestos for youth, farmers, women and others, Singh said, "There would be different sections for these stakeholders in the same document. We will talk to them before presenting a vision for their overall development in the next five years."


The manifesto would be different from election documents in the past, as people's problems and aspirations have changed, he said.

Asked if there would be a promise of freebies -- in Karnataka the party had promised smartphones to college students -- Singh said, "It is too early to say about the content. We will talk to senior leaders including state Congress chief Kamal Nath before finalising it. "Earlier manifestos were released just few days before the polls. This time the party is planning to release the manifesto well in advance," he said.

While Singh didn't reveal specific proposals that the manifesto is likely to contain, sources in the party said the focus will be on farmers, youth and women.

Karnataka Congress's manifesto had proposed a statutory income commission to ensure basic livelihood for farmers and farm labourers. Something on these lines could be expected in the manifesto, sources added.

When asked what the youth of the state are expecting from the opposition party's poll document, Akshay Hunka, convener of Berojgar Sena, an organisation of unemployed youths, said they expect a law to guarantee employment.

"Every party declares the number of jobs its government would create. But such promises are empty. We want the party to promise a law guaranteeing jobs like the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). We also want constitution of a youth commission," Hunka said.

The vast constituency of youth can make a difference to the election's outcome, he said.

As per a state election commission official, there are an estimated two crore voters in the 18-35 age group in Madhya Pradesh.

Over two crore voters in the state are from farming families, Kedar Sirohi, a prominent farmer leader, noted.

"We want an income guarantee law for farmers, besides a loan waiver. The number of agricultural markets (mandis) should be increased. The area under irrigation should also go up," he said.
first published: May 27, 2018 02:19 pm

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