Now UDF promises Rs1 per kg rice to Keralites

TRIVANDRUM - Kerala’s Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has sought to beat the ruling Left Democratic Front in sops and freebies to the voters for the April 13 Assembly elections.

By T.k. Devasia

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Published: Sat 26 Mar 2011, 11:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:19 PM

Rice and jobs, both rare in the state, are the liberal offers the two fronts have made in the run up to the elections. While the LDF offered rice at Rs2 per kg to all and 2.5 million jobs, the UDF has promised rice at Rs1 per kg to the people living below poverty line besides 3.6 million jobs.

According to the UDF manifesto released by leader of opposition Oommen Chandy at Cochin on Friday, the BPL families will get 25 kgs of rice at Rs1 a kg for a month and the others rice at Rs2 per kg.

The UDF has taken the sheen out of the LDF manifesto by offering free bi-cycles to all 10th standard students, free land to poor who have no house, adoption of extreme poor families, interest-free loan to students to purchase computers and motorbikes as well as paddy growers, loan at 3 per cent interest rate to all farmers, financial assistance of Rs.200, 000 to disabled farmers etc.

The UDF has also sought to provide relief to other sections of people by offering health insurance to all, exemption of life saving drugs from sales tax, electricity to all homes within a year etc.

The manifesto also promises to accelerate the development of the state by augmenting infrastructure at an investment of Rs1000 billion. The manifesto has promised to tap public-private, build-operate-and-transfer (BOT), corporate and all other models of investment to implement the infrastructure projects. Releasing the manifesto, Chandy said that the UDF’s attempt would be to end the stagnation of the state in the development front by adopting pragmatic approaches for attracting investments. He said that the UDF will have a balanced mix of development and welfare programmes.

He said the manifesto was a continuation of the programmes of the previous UDF rule. The previous UDF government had facilitated investment proposals worth Rs500 billion through a Global Investors Meet, but the LDF government which came to power in 2006 failed to capitalise on the same.

Before the manifesto was release, the UDF ironed out differences with two of its partners over seat allocations. The grievances of the Communist Marxist Party (CMP) led by M V Raghavan and Socialist Janata (Democratic) of M P Veerndra Kumar were been amicably sorted through discussions. Besides Chandy, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala and UDF convenor P P Thankachan also participated in the discussions. As per the agreement, the CMP would be contesting in three seats — Nenmara, Kunnamkulam and Dharmadam.

The party surrendered the Nattika seat to the Congress. The SJ (D) will put up candidates in six constituencies—Vatakara, Nemom, Mattannur, Kuthupramba, Kalpetta and Elathur. The party has given the Nattika seat to the Congress.

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