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TMC Promises to Stop CAA, NRC, UCC, Offers 10 Free Cylinders a Year to BPL Families

TMC Promises to Stop CAA, NRC, UCC, Offers 10 Free Cylinders a Year to BPL Families

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Apr 17 The Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal and an important member of the INDIA bloc if the opposition alliance is voted to power, on Wednesday released its Lok Sabha election manifesto virtually nullifying the promises the ruling BJP has made in its manifesto, no Citizenship (Amendment) Act, (CAA), no National Register of Citizens (NRC) and no Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Releasing its manifesto two days before the first phase of polling on April 19 when three constituencies of West Bengal, Coochbehar, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri, would also go to the polls, the TMC vowed – as the Congress, the DMK, and other members of the INDIA opposition bloc have – to repeal changes to the citizenship law should it defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.

Bengal’s ruling party – seen as part of INDIA despite failed seat-sharing talks with the Congress-led group – also made 10 other big-ticket promises, including 10 free LPG (cooking gas) cylinders every year to below-poverty-line families and five kg of free rations (rice, wheat, and grains) monthly.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party also vowed to back farmers for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all major crops for which farmers went for months-long confrontation – including a blockade around Delhi – between protesting agriculturists and the centre in 2020, and a second round of protests this year.

The promises will be fulfilled once the Trinamool forms the government in the Centre as part of the INDIA bloc, Trinamool leaders said asserting Trinamool’s support to the Congress-led alliance in the Centre though there has been no alliance in the state.

The Trinamool has said it will set the MSPs in line with the MS Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations and “at least 50 per cent higher than the average cost of production.” The prices of petrol and diesel will be “capped at affordable levels” and a price stabilisation fund would be set up to handle future fluctuations in what is a volatile international market.

The Trinamool has also promised 100 days of guaranteed work to all job card holders, and that all registered workers, nationwide, will now get ₹ 400 per day.

It has also reached out to students, promising to triple the number of higher education scholarships for marginalised – Other Backward Classes, and Scheduled Castes and Tribes – communities.

For senior citizens (over 60 years), the existing pension scheme will be overhauled. They will now get ₹ 1,000 per month. “Dignified housing” has been guaranteed for all poor families in the country. This will provide “safe and secure homes” to all, Ms Banerjee said.

“These are the promises which we will fulfil as part of (the) INDIA bloc, when it forms the next government,” outgoing Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said at the launch event in Kolkata.

The manifesto was released as Mamata Banerjee ripped into the BJP while campaigning for her party’s candidate in Assam’s Silchar. The Trinamool manifesto follows those of its allies – Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK and the Congress, as well as that of the CPI(M), which made headlines by vowing to dismantle India’s nuclear weapons. The CPI(M)’s promise triggered pushback from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who said the Left party was playing with national security and claimed a “deep-rooted conspiracy” against the nation.

10 guarantees contained in the TMC manifesto included:

  1. Increased income for labourers. Guarantee of 100-day work for job card holders with a daily wage of ₹400.
  2. Free housing for all poor families.
  3. Free 10 gas cylinders to BPL families per year.
  4. Doorstep-free ration delivery to all ration card holders.
  5. Increased allowance for higher education of the SC/ST. Old age allowance of ₹1,000 per month.
  6. Implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
  7. Price stabilisation fund for petro products.
  8. Apprenticeship for the graduate and diploma holders below 25 years of age.
  9. CAA will be repealed, NRC will be stopped. There will be no Uniform Civil Code in the country.
  10. Welfare schemes like Kanyashree for girls across the country.

The manifesto was set to be released in six languages including Nepalese and Santhali language Ol chiki apart from Bengali, English, Hindi, and Urdu.

When the election manifesto was released, Mamata Banerjee was in Assam for campaigning as four TMC candidates will be contesting in the BJP state. Addressing a series of election rallies, Ms Banerjee said the BJP had made the country a “detention camp” and if INDIA forms the government at the Centre, the CAA and NRC would be scrapped. “They (BJP) made the entire country a detention camp… I have never seen such a dangerous election in my life,” Mamata said adding that there would be no democracy and elections if Narendra Modi returned to power for the third consecutive term.




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