Image Source : PTI

Former MP CM Kamalnath/FILE IMAGE

In its manifesto released for the upcoming state assembly bypolls, the Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday promised to provide various benefits including employment and pension to COVID-19 victims. 

In the ‘Vachan Patra’ released by state Congress chief Kamal Nath for the November 3 bypolls to 28 assembly seats in the state, the opposition party promised help to the families of the COVID-19 victims, saying that pension would be given to a woman in case of the death of her husband, and food and health services would be provided to the poor during the ongoing crisis. The manifesto also promised creation of opportunities for employment and self-employment if the sole bread-winner of the family has died to the infection.

The Congress party also promised to roll out a farm loan waiver scheme, a welfare scheme for cows and uplift of the Gwalior-Chambal region. 

In order to return to power in the state, which the Congress lost in March this year, the party has to win all the 28 assembly seats, while the ruling BJP only needs nine seats to reach the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member House.

The manifesto promises to launch ‘Godhan Sewa Yojana’ in Madhya Pradesh on the lines of ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’ of Chhattisgarh rolled out by the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in that state.

The neighbouring state’s scheme for cows aims to financially help the people in rural areas and also solve the problem of stray cattle, it said.

In the poll document, the Congress also announced to rope in ‘gau sevaks’ (cow volunteers) in the scheme, saying the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government had removed them.

The manifesto promises to restart the scheme of giving farm loan waiver of up to Rs two lakh. It is widely believed that the Congress’s promise of

farm loan waiver was one of the major factors behind its victory in the 2018 state polls.

The party also promised to host a summit of businessmen from India and abroad in Gwalior to attract investments in the Gwalior-Chambal region, which accounts for 16 of the 28 bypoll seats.

The party also announced several other sops for the Gwalior-Chambal region, which includes organising Chambal Mahotsav (festival) annually and starting paperwork for metro rail network in Gwalior.

The bypolls are being held following the death of three MLAs and resignations of 25 others earlier this year.

Twenty-two rebel Congress MLAs, mostly from the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp, had resigned in March this year, reducing the Kamal Nath-led dispensation to a minority and paving the way for the BJP to form the government in the state.

Scindia and these former MLAs had joined the BJP. The saffron party then sent Scindia to Rajya Sabha, while many of his loyalists got important portfolios in Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet.

In July, three more Congress MLAs resigned and joined the BJP, taking their number to 25, while three assembly seats had fallen vacant due to the death of
legislators.

In March, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government had won the trust of 112 MLAs with the help of a Samajwadi Party legislator, two BSP and as many Independents MLAs. After the December 2018 MP assembly polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP), BSP and four Independents had supported the Congress to form the government.

(With PTI inputs)

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