Congress’ Gujarat Manifesto Promises Gaushalas and Mangalsutras
This time around, the Congress manifesto is quite interesting. It has something for everyone, but the most interesting aspect is their promise to make gaushalas.
Although the Congress has never really been opposed to cows and gaushalas, it had never spoken about them openly either. Ever since the Modi government came to power, the cow and cow shelter campaign has been firmly associated with the BJP. Many states with a BJP government have seen an increased “cow activism.”
Congress strategy in Gujarat has seen many changes this time around. This is visible all over the party manifesto. Basically, Congress is working with a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude.
The Government Will Build New Gaushalas
Congress’ most significant promise is to build gaushalas. The manifesto states that cow protection laws will be strictly enforced. A road map has also been stated – the government will establish new cow shelters and allocate funds for them. The Congress’ new strategy shows that they are not taking any chances.
Cows Won't Be Sent to Slaughterhouses
Congress has also said that a system will be devised to prevent cows who no longer produce milk from being sent to slaughterhouses. The party has vowed that new cow shelters will be built on grazing land in every district, and laws protecting grazing land for cows will be strictly enforced. According to the manifesto, the grazing land will only be used for cow shelters and cow fodder.
“Mangalsutra” for Hindu Women
The Congress claims that if it is voted to power, Hindu women from weaker financial backgrounds will be allocated Rs 11,000 for a mangalsutra. Religious sentiments are attached to Mangalsutras, worn by married Hindu women, and the Congress’ attempt to include it in its poll manifesto is seen as the party’s attempt to change its image.
Babasaheb Ambedkar's Statue in Bay of Khambhat
The BJP headquarters in Gujarat held campaigns for Dalits, after which the Congress formed an alliance with Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Along with a host of other promises to attract Dalit voters, the party has also assured that a large statue of Dr BR Ambedkar will be set up at the Gulf of Khambhat.
The manifesto promises Rs 3,000-4,000 a month as unemployment benefit to unemployed youth till they find work. A graduate of class 12 will get Rs 3,000, a graduate will get Rs 3,500, and a postgraduate will get Rs 4,000 as allowance per month.
Withdrawal of Lawsuits Against Activists
The Congress manifesto goes to great lengths to appease the Patidar, OBC and Dalit community in Gujarat. The manifesto promises the formation of an SIT to investigate the alleged state excesses in the attempt to quash the Patidar agitation. Also, all cases against political protesters will be dropped.
An assurance to decrease petrol and diesel prices by Rs 10 per litre has been given. It has also promised things like Indira Canteens to provide full meals for Rs 10, subsidy in electricity, and an attempt to work towards providing GST relief for small business owners.
2017 Manifesto Very Different From 2012
The 2017 Congress manifesto is very different from what the party came out with in 2012.
Last time around, laptops for college students and tablets from 10th and 12th grade students had been promised. But this time, the party has made promises based on discussions with the people on a large scale and an assessment of their needs.
On the other hand, the BJP has issued no manifesto to counter the Congress. The BJP believes that for a manifesto, PM Narendra Modi’s name and it’s past record of development will suffice.
(This article was originally published on Quint Hindi)