The voters of Chhattisgarh are choosing the 5th state government this month. The Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha elections are taking place in two phases, with the first phase scheduled on November 7th and the second phase on November 17th of this year. The primary contenders in this election are the Congress and the BJP. The BJP had governed the state for three consecutive terms under the leadership of Raman Singh. In 2018, the Congress successfully unseated the BJP, and Bhupesh Baghel assumed the position of Chief Minister for the Congress. Now, after five years in power, the Congress is contesting this election under the incumbent Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Both parties have a keen interest in their election promises, leading to a significant delay in the release of their party manifestos. Let’s now proceed with an analysis of the manifestos from both political parties.
The Congress party places a strong emphasis on the well-being of farmers. Both parties have committed to raising the prices of food grains with the BJP proposing an increase of 3100/- and the Congress pledging 3200/-. They have made similar assurances to tendu leaf collectors. If re-elected, the Congress party has vowed to provide relief on agricultural loans and ensure that the Tivra crop is included in the Minimum Support Price (MSP). In contrast, the BJP has expressed its intention to enhance government procurement of food grains from 15 quintals per acre to 20 quintals per acre.
Women voters are set to have a pivotal influence in this election with LPG gas prices being a primary concern for them. The Congress party has committed to providing a subsidy of Rs 500/- for each cylinder, whereas the BJP has pledged to provide cylinders for Rs 500/- each. The BJP has assured women voters of an annual financial aid of Rs 12,000/- through the Mhatari Vandan Yojana. Additionally, they have promised to issue a certificate worth Rs 1,50,000/- upon the birth of a girl child from a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family. On the other hand, the Congress party has assured to waive the loans taken by Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
The BJP appears to have a stronger emphasis on appealing to women and young voters. Both political parties pledge to augment the availability of loans with a 50% subsidy. Notably, only the BJP’s manifesto addresses the concerns of unemployment and the creation of job opportunities. The BJP’s election promises, such as establishing New Raipur as an Innovation Hub, introducing “Sarkar Tuhar Dwar,” and offering 1 lakh government job openings, are designed to attract the attention and support of the younger electorate.
Both the BJP and Congress have made commitments to provide Chhattisgarh’s residents with free medical care up to Rs 10 lakh. The BJP’s pledge includes the construction of 500 new Generic Medicine Centres, whereas the Congress party guarantees free medical treatment for victims of road accidents and coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh for Above Poverty Line (APL) individuals.
When considering the state’s industrial development, the Congress party appears to place a stronger emphasis on rural areas, while the BJP’s focus is more directed toward urban areas. Congress has set its sight on constructing 700 new Rural Industrial Parks, known as RIPAs, shortly, which would raise the total count to 1000. Additionally, the Congress party has expressed its intention to waive the debts and taxes of transport business owners.
In contrast, the BJP’s approach is geared towards drawing investment into the state by organizing a global-level “Invest Chhattisgarh” Conference. They have also proposed the development of a State Capital Region (SCR) modeled after the National Capital Region (NCR), encompassing areas such as Raipur, New Raipur, Durg, and Bhilai Nagar.
It’s quite intriguing to observe that both political parties have introduced innovative and compelling propositions for the state’s education system. The Congress party is focused on providing free education for all students from kindergarten (KG) to post-graduate (PG) levels. They also have plans to transform 6000 government schools into Swami Atmanand Schools with English and Hindi mediums. Meanwhile, the BJP is committed to enhance transparency within the CGPSC by investigating the CGPSC Scam. They are also pledging monthly travel allowances for college students through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system. In addition, like AIIMS and IITs, the BJP is vowing to establish a Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences in every division and a Chhattisgarh Institute of Technology in each Lok Sabha Constituency.
Both political parties have concurred on the point that, in the Landless Labourer Workers Scheme, the annual wage of laborers should be raised to Rs 10,000 each year.
In addition to the aforementioned electoral commitments, the Congress party has endeavored to gain voter support by pledging to provide free electricity for up to 200 units of consumption. They have also assured that 17.5 lakh families will get homes through the Mukhyamantri Awas Nyay Yojana. Under the slogan “Jiski Jitni Aabadi, Uska Utna Hak” (meaning “Proportionate right on resources of proportionate population”), Congress is committed to conducting a caste-based survey in the state. Moreover, the Chhattisgarh Congress has made a promise to supply wood for cremations in urban areas.
The BJP has made several commitments, including providing tap water to 18 lakh citizens through the Pradhan Mantri Ghar-Ghar Nirmal Jal Abhiyan within a two-year timeframe. To support this initiative, the party pledges to allocate funds during its first Cabinet Meeting. They have also firmly asserted their dedication to a “Zero Corruption Tolerance Policy,” which involves establishing a commission against corruption, launching a web portal for grievance resolution and monitoring, and establishing a dedicated cell in the Chief Minister’s Office for prompt action.
Additionally, the BJP places special emphasis on the development of pilgrimage and tourism through the ‘Shaktipeeth Project.’ Similar to the concept of Char Dham, the BJP proposes a 1000-kilometer project connecting five Shakti Peethas. As a core element of their agenda, the BJP also promises to facilitate Chhattisgarh’s citizens in visiting Ayodhya for the Darshan of Shri Ramlalla.