GUWAHATI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday released the party election manifesto with a promise to thwart the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the state, but took a leaf out of the ruling BJP’s agenda on issues like sheltering the cow and giving ‘land pattas’ to the landless.
The grand old party is banking upon its ‘five guarantees’ as USP to reclaim its lost turf. The Gandhi scion, however, said that safeguarding the indegenous identity and culture is their principle resolve.
“This manifesto is actually a people’s manifesto. It highlights the aspirations of the people of Assam. The manifesto provides five guarantees, but it also provides a guarantee that we will defend the idea of Assam comprising harmony, tradition, language and history,” Rahul said.
The manifesto read that CAA, which the party said, has endangered the language, culture and history of Assam, will not be implemented and rigorous attempts will be made by the Congress party to repeal this law that ‘threatens to divide people’.
The manifesto made a promise of gaushalas in every district, but the chairman of the manifesto committee and MP, Gaurav Gogoi, clarified that it is a plea of dairy farmers unlike BJP’s move to protect the ‘holy cow’.
Gaurav said, “The people of Assam who rear cows want gaushalas so that their cows can be looked after once they stop yielding milk.”
Provision of free lunch at Rs 10 through ‘Aamar pakghar’ scheme for the organised and unorganised sectors has been promised.
Among a flurry of other promises, Congress has assured that the holy places, namghars, mandirs, mosques and churches, that have attained an age of 50 years, will be provided financial assistance.
This reduced the gap by half-a-century, as the BJP-led state government offered financial assistance to religious institutions, including many temples, mosques and mazar and churches which are mostly over 100 years old.
The manifesto promised to waive off debt for women who have taken loans from microfinance banks and stated that there will be free-of-cost state transport for all women.
Agricultural debt will also be waived for farmers and paper mills in Panchgram and in Jagiroad, which have been closed under the BJP regime, will be revived again, read the manifesto.
It promised a pension will be extended to the families of freedom fighters and martyrs of the Assam agitation, language movement and most importantly, those killed during the anti-CAA movement.
Removing the indigenous tag of the BJP, Congress said in its manifesto that the landless who currently inhabit state-owned land will be provided ‘land patta’.
“The longstanding demand for Scheduled Tribe Status of Tai Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia, Tea Tribes and Koch-Rajbangshi will be given importance and special attention will be given to ensuring that no enlisted scheduled tribes/castes is affected and for that a solution will be devised ,” the manifesto said.
It added that kerosene and sugar will be distributed publicly again at minimum price, a digital library will be set up in every constituency, model health insurance will be extended to the organized and unorganised sectors and a corpus fund for lawyers and Rs 5 crore will be extended towards it.
“Under the ‘Mission Xwej Assam’, the greenery of Assam will be increased by another 15%. Mobile clinics will be set up in poverty stricken regions of cities and villages,” the manifesto said.
Further, Congress promised State Olympics will be conducted annually under Assam Olympic Association and necessary steps will be taken for the promotion of Ambubachi Mela at Kamakhya temple premises.
As a package of Covid-19 financial relief, the manifesto said another corpus fund will be constituted to address the loss that people from various sections faced, sound technicians, instrumental artists, lighting teams and beauticians among others.
Congress promised zero tolerance policy towards corruption, to be implemented in all offices including the highest office holders.
Within one year of forming the government, the Congress will take necessary steps to fill the vacant posts of teachers, principal and vice principal in state run high schools and secondary schools.
On the perennial flood and erosion issue, the Congress said it will start a database on the number of flood affected people, the details of the land eroded along with names of displaced persons and their present address and occupation.