Bangalore: With a fortnight to go before Karnataka goes to polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday released its election manifesto. The party promised free laptops for students and better waste management in the state, 25 kilograms of rice to poor families at Rs 1 per kg, 50 per cent reservations to women in local bodies and compulsory yoga in schools.
The elections will be held in Karnataka on May 5 and counting will take place on May 8.
Pure drinking water to all citizens, 24X7 uninterrupted power supply and a project to teach good and correct English in Kannada medium schools would all be a reality, said BJP seeking the people's mandate for the second time. The manifesto was released by opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in the presence of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, state unit BJP chief Prahllad Joshi, party General Secretary HN Ananth Kumar and other state leaders.
Lessons on "cultural nationalism" and moral values are part of promises held out in the field of education on which the party assured the people it would increase the spending from 1 per of GDP to 3 per cent. The party promised 50 per cent reservation of seats to women in local bodies and eradication of child labour.
Priority for Kannada medium students in higher education and employment, free Wi-Fi and internet for all schools and colleges, introduction of Yoga as part of the syllabus in schools and colleges are among the many promises made. Jaitley defended the rice scheme, saying it and the promise to provide laptops could not be construed as populism.
Providing the right to food to the deprived sections would make right to live more meaningful, he said. It was also not populist if students in a state known for IT power were given instruments of IT. He said BJP had succeeded in installing the party's first-ever government in the South five years ago and "we have governed and completed full term taking up challenges for the cause of people."
Jaitley said whenever the party faced difficult challenges, it stood by values and ideals rather than individuals. "Politically, we have emerged cleaner, stronger and more cohesive." "We are now entering with the hope of another mandate to serve (the people)", he said. Shettar said "we have provided good governance and a corruption-free and transparent government", referring his tenure of nine months and 11 months of his predecessor DV Sadananda Gowda.
(With additional information from PTI)