AAP's four-fold manifesto for Punjab
For the Aam Aadmi Party, one manifesto for a state like Punjab is cliche and so they have four. Released at different intervals, the Aam Aadmi Party has seperate manifestos for farmers, Dalits, trade industry and youth of Punjab.
The party becomes the first in Punjab to have a seperate manifesto for Dalits, whose vote share is crucial.
AAP’s promises to Dalits in Punjab
Houses for all is AAP’s promise to the Dalits. The party has assured a low-cost housing scheme to ensure that all members of the community have pucca houses. The party has also promised to stop illegal selling of village common land reserved for Dalits to the rich and the influential.
A special cell to monitor implementation of post-matric scholarship schemes and a SIT to recommend stringent punishment for cases of atrocities and false cases filed against Dalits in the last five years.
The party has promised to clear the backlog of job vacancies. The manifesto also includes a collateral free loan of Rs 2 lakh to start small businesses. Special complaint cells to deal with cases of discrimination against Dalits. A social security scheme has also found its place in the manifesto along with a guarantee of higher education scheme and free education for poor Dalit girls up to class 12.
Sops galore for Farmers
Like most parties, AAP has also promised to waive off debts for farmers in Punjab with a promise that Punjab farmers will be debt-free by December 2017. Re-enactment of moneylenders’ debt act has taken the lead in their manifesto for farmers. Compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre of crop at times of natural calamities and Rs 10,000 for farm labourers for loss of work on a monthly basis is AAP’s promise. Also support price, instant crop payment, 12-hours electricity for farmers and free medical facilities feature in the manifesto.
Jail for ‘corrupt’ Akali ministers figures in the manifesto as well that includes the names of agriculture minister Tota Singh, Food and civil supplies minister Adesh Pratap Singh among others for allegedly diverting funds meant for grants or schemes that would benefit farmers of the state.
Fast track courts to dispose of pending cases of farmer litigation also features in the manifesto. Rs 5 lakh compensation and a government job for an adult member of a family affected by farmer suicide have been promised by the AAP. Declaring Punjab as the dairy state, bringing back sugarcane crop, loans to landless farmers, stray cattle shelter feature in the long list of promises.
A manifesto for Trade, Industry and Transport
AAP has chosen to address individual issues by coming up with a separate manifesto for each sector. Corruption-free trade, industry and transport sector is the party’s first promise. Simplified tax regime, reduction of VAT and other taxes like in Delhi, single window system for clearances and approvals and industrial revival are all AAP’s assurance to the people of Punjab.
Reduction in electricity tariff is a reminiscence of their manifesto in Delhi. New industrial township, regulation of unauthorised colonies, revival of real estate sector, comprehensive real estate policy, elimination of ‘goonda tax’ and ‘Reta-Bajri mafia’ feature in the manifesto. Interest-free loans for agro-units that have at least 80 percent labour force from Punjab and incentives to rural food and dairy units are part of the promises. Protection of small retailers from FDI in retail, incentives for hotels to encourage tourism, exhibition halls at various districts of Punjab to boost business is what AAP is bringing to the table.
AAP tries to impress youth
Considering that a larger chunk of voters in Punjab are youth, the AAP has released a specialised manifesto for them with emphasis on Anti-drugs campaigns, sports, education and employment. The party that has had an immense success with youngsters across the country hopes to get a similar response from the youth of Punjab.
Use of technology to end corruption, passing the Jan-Lokpal bill, creating at least 25 lakh jobs, dismantling ‘Theka system’ controlled by politicians to allow legal and fair awarding of contracts are prime promises of the AAP to the youth of Punjab. Foreign employment youth board for those willing to study abroad, free wi-fi spots across the state, eradication of drug supply chain within one month are AAP’s promises. Time and again leaders of all political parties have referred to controlling Punjab’s drug issue and AAP is no different.
With promises of stopping arbitrary fee hike in private schools, higher education guarantee schemes with loans up to Rs 10 lakh without collateral and abolishing application fees for government jobs, AAP hopes to leave an impact on the youth. Their manifesto also declares their aim to create a ‘mass sports movement’ and introduce ‘Punjab Olympic mission’.
The AAP that is venturing into the electoral foray of Punjab assembly for the first time, is hoping that its sector-based manifestos stand out amidst conventional manifestos of their opponents.