Congress announces fifth poll ‘guarantee’: free travel for women in public transport buses


Mangaluru: Announcing the fifth poll “guarantee” of the Congress ahead of the May 10 Assembly polls in Karnataka, party leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday promised free travel for women in public transport buses, if the party is voted to power in the state.

Rahul Gandhi is in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, campaigning for the party’s candidates in the upcoming elections.
He hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying that the Congress would not fulfil its guarantees.

“Narendra Modi says Congress party will not fulfil its guarantees. We have given you (people) four guarantees and they will be implemented on the first day, in the first cabinet meeting. Modi ji, you said four guarantees will not be fulfilled, I’m adding more to it. We will not fulfil four guarantees on the first day, but will fulfil five,” Gandhi said.

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Addressing a public meeting here, he said, “We will add another guarantee to four existing guarantees. It will be for women. Modi ji, listen carefully. As soon as Congress comes to power, on the very first day the fifth guarantee will also be implemented — women across Karnataka will travel free in public transport buses.”

“Your (BJP) people looted money from Karnataka’s women with 40 per cent commission, it is your work. While our work is to give Karnataka’s women the state’s money. So immediately after winning the election, whenever you meet a woman in buses, they would not be paying a single rupee to travel in buses,” he added.

Congress has already announced four guarantees’ 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), and Rs 3,000 every month for graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (YuvaNidhi), on coming to power in the state.

Asking the voters to limit the BJP to 40 seats in the state, as they were a party that ran a “40 percent commission government”, Gandhi said, “The number is comfortable for them.”

He alleged that the BJP had made “stealing” a habit and were betraying all sections of people including the youth, farmers and fishermen. The BJP could not provide employment to the youth as promised. Inflation increased under the BJP rule and several small-scale industries were closed during the regime, he said.

A decision on all the promises in the Congress guarantee card would be made at the first cabinet meeting of the next government, Gandhi said, adding that the Narendra Modi government had not kept any of its promises including providing two crore jobs for the youth in a year and Rs 15 lakh to every household by rooting out corruption.

“The BJP is not keeping the promises to the poor, youth and farmers and has not done anything for them, whereas they have kept the promises made to Adani,” Gandhi charged.

He said he was disqualified from Parliament for asking questions about the link between the BJP government and Adani. “The ruling party has not given answer to my question yet,” he said.

Congress’ fifth poll promise, interestingly, came on a day, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing Karnataka BJP workers virtually made a strong pitch for ending “revdi culture” (culture of distributing freebies).

Accusing the Congress of engaging in “revdi culture” in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, Modi said their poll guarantees have still remained unfulfilled. “Congress means guarantee of corruption, guarantee of nepotism,” he had said.

“Congress has reached a stage where it cannot give true guarantees, you are aware that Congress’s warranty has expired, then what is the meaning of its guarantees,” he added.

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( With inputs from )

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