Ahead of the Assembly elections in Kerala, both the leading fronts- ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)- have released their election manifestos hinting how the policies of the upcoming government depending on whoever comes to power.
The manifestos have become the part of active political discussions especially after the current LDF government made their way to power. As promised, the LDF government had fulfilled 580 of 600 promises that they had announced during the 2016 Assembly elections. Unlike other governments, the LDF government had come up with progress report every year evaluating how well the government had performed their poll promises made in 2016. So, the election manifestos of political fronts ahead of the elections this time were much awaited ones.
The LDF on Friday released its manifesto for the April 6 Assembly polls, promising 'pension' for homemakers, creation of 40 lakh jobs for the youth and 15,000 startups over next five years. It also assured raising the social security pension to various categories from the present Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,500 in phases and pledged to increase the income of farmers by 50%.
The 900-point manifesto was released jointly by LDF convenor and Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary in charge A Vijayaraghavan, CPI Secretary, Kanam Rajendran and several other top leaders of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which is seeking a second straight term.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was campaigning in Palakkad district and could not be present on the occasion.
The LDF's poll document said pension would be given to homemakers "acknowledging the value of their work", becoming the latest party in the current poll season to woo women with such a dole after the ruling AIADMK, DMK and actor-politician Kamal Haasan's MNM in Tamil Nadu and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
Vijayaraghavan claimed the Left Front was approaching the people of Kerala with the report card of "a historic achievement" of fulfilling 580 of the 600 promises made during the 2016 elections.
"We are entering the next phase of constructing a new Kerala. A sustainable development model needs to be realised on the basis of the progress made by the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the basic infrastructure sector.
"Along with expanding the welfare schemes for the poor and modern employment opportunities for future generations should also be created in Kerala," the manifesto reads.
To achieve all these, Kerala should be transformed into a knowledge society and continuation of the LDF government would be essential, Vijayaraghavan said.
The manifesto assures 15,000 startups in the coming five years to provide jobs for one lakh people. It also promises to attract private investment and plans an investment of Rs 10,000 crore in the industrial sector with priority given to IT, biotechnology, electronics and pharmaceutical industries.
For the farmers, it says their income would be increased by 50% with the use of science and technology.
"A digital platform will be set up to market the products. This (rise in income) will be ensured through increase in agricultural productivity, timely reform of base prices, income from agricultural product processing and related incomes," the document says.
The base price of rubber will be gradually increased to Rs 250. Moreover, the LDF also assured that a Rs 10,000-crore transgrid project will ensure no power shortage till 2040.
The LDF, if voted to power, would launch a public campaign based on crime mapping in the state to counter violence against women and the employment opportunities for women in Kerala will be increased by a quarter.
"Social welfare pensions will be increased to Rs 2,500 in various phases. The benefits of all scheme workers including Anganwadi, Asha workers, resource teachers, cooks, Kudumbasree staff, pre-primary teachers, NHM staff and school social counselors will be increased in a timely manner," the LDF manifesto says.
A Rs 5,000-crore package for coastal area development to protect the shores from erosion, increasing the minimum support price for rubber to Rs 250a kg, attaining self- sufficiency in production of eggs, milk and vegetables are among assurances presented in the manifesto.
Apart from more houses under the LIFE Mission project for the poor, the poll document also says dwelling units will be constructed for all members of tribal and Scheduled Caste communities.
Claiming that "the biggest achievement" of the LDF government headed by Vijayan was ensuring "corruption-free" governance, Vijayaraghavan said the manifesto was drawn up keeping in mind its aim to retain power.
People’s Manifesto of UDF
The Opposition Congress-led UDF on Saturday released a "People's Manifesto" promising Rs 2000 monthly pension to homemakers, Five kilogram free rice to all-white cardholders and five lakh homes to the poor.
A special law to protect the traditions of the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple and a Peace and Harmony department on the model of Rajasthan has also been promised by the UDF.
Reaching out to the vast majority of women voters, the front has assured a two-year age relaxation for mothers appearing for examinations for government jobs. Housewives aged between 40-60 years, who do not come under the Nyay scheme, the minimum income guarantee programme launched by Congress in 2019, would be entitled for the Rs 2,000 monthly pension.
Free food kits to those who had been affected by COVID-19 and no-bill hospitals are among the other schemes of the front, Benny Behanan MP, chairman of the manifesto committee said.
(With Inputs from PTI)