In the run-up to the Chhattisgarh assembly elections, the Congress party unveiled its comprehensive manifesto titled ‘Bharose ka Ghoshna Patra 2023-28’ at multiple locations across the state, setting out an array of promises aimed at improving the lives of the people if voted into power once again.
The manifesto, released two days before the first phase of the state polls, outlines several key commitments, including conducting a caste census, providing loan waivers to farmers, offering a ₹500 subsidy on gas cylinders, ensuring free education from kindergarten (KG) to post-graduation (PG), procuring paddy at ₹3,200 per quintal, and offering free electricity up to 200 units, among other initiatives.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who spearheaded the manifesto’s release, emphasized that paddy cultivators would receive ₹3,200 per quintal for paddy (20 acre per quintal), including input subsidies provided under the Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojna. This announcement was in contrast to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) promise of procuring 21 quintals of paddy per acre at ₹3,100 under the ‘Krishi Unnati Scheme.’
The Congress party further pledged to waive outstanding farm loans, estimated to be around ₹5,500 crores, and to provide relief to self-help groups (SHGs). Tendu leaf collection rates will be increased to ₹6,000 per standard sack from the existing ₹4,000, with tendu leaf collectors receiving an annual bonus of ₹4,000.
To support women across income groups, the Congress announced the “Mahtari Nyay Yojana,” which offers a subsidy of ₹500 per cooking gas cylinder, directly deposited into the bank accounts of women. The gas cylinder’s cost will be reduced to ₹494 per cylinder.
While the BJP had proposed the “Mahtari Vandan Scheme,” offering financial assistance of ₹12,000 per year to married women, the Congress did not announce a separate scheme for married women.
The Congress also committed to providing houses to 17.5 BPL families if they retain power, with 7 lakh beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and the remaining 10 lakh under the Mukyamantri Awas Nyay Yojna.
To support landless agricultural laborers, the party proposed to increase annual financial assistance to ₹10,000, up from the previous ₹7,000. CM Baghel reaffirmed that operational schemes would continue if the Congress retained power in the state.
While the Congress’s manifesto is packed with promises, the BJP’s chief spokesperson, Ajay Chandrakar, criticized it for offering nothing new and for focusing on unfulfilled commitments from the past.
With the assembly elections scheduled in two phases on November 7 and 17, the ground battle between the political parties in Chhattisgarh is anticipated to intensify, with each party striving to win over voters with their respective manifestos.