New Delhi: After a two-day session of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest 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 Mahalaxmi Yojana, under which women will get Rs 2,500 per month, LPG cylinders for Rs 500 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 the society.”
After this, party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced five more guarantees.
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The first was the Rythu Bharosa Guarantee, under which farmers and tenant farmers would get Rs 15,000 annually, agricultural laborers would get Rs 12,000 and a bonus of Rs 500 would be given for paddy crops.
The second was Grih Jyoti Guarantee, under which all houses will get free electricity up to 200 units. After this, there was Indiramma Indu Guarantee which would provide housing sites and Rs 5 lakh to the homeless. Under this scheme, the fighters of Telangana movement will also get a plot of 250 square yards.
Under Yuva Vikasam Guarantee, students will be given Vidya Bharosa cards worth Rs 5 lakh. There will also be a Telangana International School in every division.
Kharge said, finally under the Cheyutha Guarantee, senior citizens 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 states, “The resources that were meant for the people of the new state have been usurped by those in power. “Instead of promising a bright future, they have left the state backward by ruling like the Nizams.”
These announcements came after the extended CWC meeting for one session on Sunday, which was attended by around 150 leaders.
The CWC also heard reports from states where elections are going to be held soon and appealed to the voters of Telangana to choose the Congress.
At the beginning of his speech at the expanded CWC meeting, Kharge announced that the agenda of the meeting was to discuss the upcoming elections and election preparations for the Lok Sabha 2024. Congress spokesperson Pawan Kheda also spoke to the media on Sunday and said that the party has decided to demand a women’s reservation bill in a special Parliament session on September 18.
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‘Maintain discipline, work day and night’
In 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 by expressing the 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 from all the leaders.
Kharge asked, “I want to ask the state chiefs whether the Mandal, Block and District level Congress committees 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 to 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 which may adversely affect the party,” 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 have to work hard day and night.
Kharge also remarked 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 the Women’s Reservation Bill passed’
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the meeting on Sunday, Pawan Khera said that the core committee of the CWC had decided to demand passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill during the special session of Parliament on Saturday.
Kheda said, “The history of the 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 fell in the Rajya Sabha because the then opposition did not cooperate.”
He said that in 1993, the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies. “Then, it fell into the other house. Then Dr. Manmohan Singh, when he became Prime Minister…this particular 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. Congress had boycotted that protest.
(Editing: Falguni Sharma)
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