Congress parliamentary party chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday announced six “guarantees” for the people of Telangana ahead of the crucial assembly polls, as she made an emotional pitch to the voters, saying it is her dream to see the party’s government that will work for all sections of society in the state.
“We are announcing six guarantees for the people of Telangana and we are committed to implementing each of them,” Gandhi said while addressing a rally — Vijaya Bheri — at Tukkuguda on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The former Congress president said that under “Mahalakshmi” — first of the six guarantees — ₹2,500 per month financial assistance will be given to women in Telangana, gas cylinders at ₹500, and free travel for women in state transport buses across the southern state.
Telangana will go to assembly elections later this year.
“I along with my colleagues had the opportunity to be a part of the birth of this great state, Telangana. Now, it is our duty to elevate the state to new heights,” Gandhi — who was also accompanied by her MP son Rahul Gandhi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge — said.
Making an appeal to the people to support her party, she added: “It is my dream to see a Congress government in Telangana that will work for all sections of the society.”
The other five “guarantees” announced by the Congress, included those for state’s farmers, poor families and students.
Under “Rythu Bharosa” scheme, the Congress promised an annual financial assistance of ₹15,000 for farmers, ₹12,000 per year to agriculture labourers, and a bonus of ₹500 per quintal for paddy above the minimum support price.
The “Indiramma” housing scheme promises a piece of land and ₹5 lakh for construction of house for houseless poor, besides a 250 square yard plot for house for the families of martyrs in the state. The “Gruhajyothy” scheme promises 200 units of free electricity to each poor household, while a health insurance cover of up to ₹10 lakh and ₹4,000 pension to the poor under the “Cheyutha” scheme.
The “Yuva Vikasam” scheme offers ₹5 lakh financial assistance to students from poor background for pursuing higher education, besides establishment of Telangana International Schools in every block.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked political rivals — the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) — saying his party was fighting all three simultaneously.
“Though these three parties appear to be operating independently, they are all one behind the screen. The BRS supported the BJP government at the Centre in Parliament on several occasions. They have conspired together and held separate rallies in Hyderabad today, only to create hurdles for the Congress rally,” the Wayanad MP said.
He was referring to the two events on Sunday, one held by Union home minister Amit Shah and other by BRS chief and Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the merger of the erstwhile Hyderabad state into the Indian Union on this day in 1948.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi treats KCR and Owaisi as his loyalists. That is why, no [ED, CBI] cases have been filed against them,” Rahul Gandhi alleged, describing the BRS as “BJP Rishtedaar Samithi”.
Kharge also assured that the Congress will implement all six guarantees if his party comes to power in the upcoming polls. “On seeing the overwhelming response of the people, I am now confident that the Congress will come to power in the state,” the Congress chief said.
Reacting to the development, both BRS and BJP ridiculed the Congress’s guarantees as “false promises”.
“The Congress leadership is giving these false promises only to hoodwink the people, knowing fully well that the party cannot come to power. Moreover, some of these promises are a direct lift from the schemes which are already being implemented by our chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao,” senior BRS leader and state finance minister T Harish Rao said.
BJP state spokesperson NV Subhash said it was ridiculous on the part of the Congress to announce six guarantees without any financial commitment. “The state has become bankrupt during the regime of the BRS. How can the Congress implement these tall promises?” he said, alleging that the Congress has a habit of announcing guarantees before the polls only to ignore them later.