New Delhi: After a two-day session of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s apex decision-making body, in Hyderabad, the party announced six guarantees for the upcoming Telangana elections at a public meeting on Sunday.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced the Mahalaxmi Yojana, under which women will get Rs 2,500 per month, Rs 500 LPG cylinders and free travel in RTC buses across the state.
Sonia said, “I had the opportunity to be a part of the birth of this great state of Telangana along with my colleagues. Now it is our duty to take it to new heights.”
He said, “It has been my dream to see a Congress government in Telangana which will work for all sections of society.”
Following this, party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced five more guarantees.
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The first was the Rythu Bharosa Guarantee, under which farmers and tenants would get Rs 15,000 annually, agricultural laborers would get Rs 12,000 and a bonus of Rs 500 would be given for rice crops.
The second was the Grih Jyoti guarantee, under which all houses will get free electricity up to 200 units. After this, there was the Indiramma Indu Guarantee which would provide housing and Rs 5 lakh to the homeless. Under this scheme, the militants of the Telangana movement will also get a plot of 250 square meters.
Under the Yuva Vikasam guarantee, students will get Vidya Bharosa cards worth Rs 5 lakh. There will also be a Telangana International School in each division.
Kharge said, finally under the Cheyutha guarantee, pensioners will be given a monthly pension of Rs 4,000 and Rajiv Arogyasari insurance of Rs 10 lakh will also be provided.
In its appeal to the people of Telangana, the party accused the Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS) led by K. Chandrashekhar Rao of establishing “family rule”.
The appeal says, “The resources meant for the people of the new state have been usurped by the rulers. “Instead of promising a bright future, they have left the state backward by ruling like Nizams.”
These announcements came after the extended one-session CWC meeting on Sunday, which was attended by about 150 leaders.
The CWC also heard reports from states where elections will be held soon and appealed to the voters of Telangana to vote for the Congress.
At the start of his address at the extended CWC meeting, Kharge announced that the agenda of the meeting was to discuss the upcoming election and preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Congress spokesperson Pawan Kheda also spoke to the media on Sunday and said that the party has decided to demand a bill on women’s reservation at an extra session of Parliament on 18 September.
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“Maintain discipline, work day and night”
At the meeting on Sunday, Kharge expressed confidence that the party will get a decisive mandate in the upcoming elections in five states.
According to the resolution passed after the meeting, the meeting of the Extended Congress Working Committee concluded with expressing confidence that the Indian National Congress will get a decisive mandate from the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana in the soon to be held assembly elections.”
“It also confirms the preparedness of the party organization for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to be held in April-May 2024,” the resolution said.
During the meeting, Kharge took stock of the election preparations of all the leaders.
Kharge asked, “I want to ask the state leaders whether the Congress committees at the Mandal, Block and district levels are ready. Are these committees organizing regular programs in the states where they have been formed? Have you started looking at possible candidates (for the Lok Sabha elections)?”
He asked the party workers to maintain discipline and not go to the media with statements against other party leaders.
He said, “We all have to face ups and downs in our lives, but we should always maintain discipline… No leader becomes a leader without discipline. “Only if we remain disciplined will people follow us and listen to us.”
“We should remember that we should not do anything to satisfy our ego or score points for ourselves that may affect the party adversely,” he said. He emphasized that the party won the Karnataka elections only because the party fought unitedly.
He said, this is not the time for us to rest, we must work hard day and night.
Kharge also pointed out that 2024 will mark the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s election as Congress president.
He said, “The most appropriate tribute to Mahatma Gandhi would be to oust the BJP from power.”
“Get Women’s Reservation Bill Passed”
Addressing the media on the sidelines of the meeting on Sunday, Pawan Kheda said the CWC’s core committee had decided to demand approval of the Women’s Reservation Bill during the special session of Parliament on Saturday.
Kheda said, “The history of Women’s Reservation Bill is very interesting. It was in 1989 when our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ensured that there was one-third reservation in elected local bodies for women. An attempt was made to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill (1989). It was passed in the Lok Sabha, but failed in the Rajya Sabha because the then opposition did not cooperate.”
He said that in 1993, the proposal for reservation for women was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly. “Then it fell into the second house. Then Dr. Manmohan Singh, when he became the prime minister…this bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha and it is still alive.”
Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha, led by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, had gone on a hunger strike in Delhi in March this year demanding passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill. The Congress had boycotted that protest.
(Editing by Falguni Sharma)
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