Congress President Rahul Gandhi sounded the poll bugle in Chhattisgarh on Monday by addressing a farmers’ rally in state capital Raipur. For both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, farmers are being seen as the major vote bank in next month’s Assembly election. BJP, which has been in power for the past 15 years, is fighting a strong anti-incumbency whereas the Rahul Gandhi-led party is making all possible attempts to make a comeback.
Hoping to storm back to power, the Congress is riding on two key election promises --- complete waiver of farm loans and slashing electricity bills by half.
According to a report in the Economic Times, the party has different campaigns for the rural and the urban areas. The rural campaign will have a catchy line in Chhattisgarhi — “Chhattisgarh ke chaar chinhaari – Narwa, Garuwa, Ghurva, Baari (There are four symbols of Chhattisgarh – rivulets, livestock, domestic dump and farming).”
The Rural Campaign
The Congress is also focusing on the minimum support price paid to farmers by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government versus the MSP being paid by the Narendra Modi government. In its poll promise of Rs 2,100 MSP and Rs 300 as an annual bonus.
The Gandhi-led party is also emphasising on the implementation of the Forest Rights Act to woo the state’s tribal population.
The Urban Campaign
To woo urban voters, Congress is focusing on the implementation of new industrial policies and promise food processing plants. Congress remains a key player in urban areas, holding influence in half of the 46 nagar palikas in the state. The party is also looking to build “quality universities” that will offer affordable education in the Chhattisgarh.
Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on November 12 and November 20. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 11. The first phase of polling covers 18 seats spread across eight Naxal-affected districts namely Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Sukma, Kondagaon, Kanker, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon. The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls on November 20.