Karnataka: BJP manifesto promises free smartphones, laptops

Bengaluru, May 4: Making a bid to return to power in Karnataka, the BJP on Friday released its manifesto for the May 12 Assembly elections and promised free smartphones to poor women, free laptops to students entering college and visits to China and Israel for farmers. “Our manifesto aims to cater to the aspirations of the people of Karnataka. We have focused on the welfare of farmers, women, youths and backward sections,” said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit head and chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa. “All women from the below poverty line (BPL) families will be given free smartphones under a ‘Mukhya Mantri Smartphone Yojane’,” Yeddyurappa told the media here. Every student enrolling in a college will get a free laptop. One thousand farmers will be allowed to travel to countries like Israel and China each year to study their best agricultural practices under the “Chief Minister’s Fellowship for Agriculture”, the manifesto said. The document proposes to waive all farmers’ loans up to Rs 1 lakh from nationalised and cooperative banks in the very first Cabinet meeting after the swearing-in of the new government.
The BJP leader said the party will earmark Rs 10,000 crore for a “Stree Unnati” Fund to set up women-run cooperatives across the state and establish stores to market products made by women at district and sub-district headquarters. The party also plans to construct more than 300 “Annapoorna Canteens” across the state, with three in each of the 30 district headquarters and one in each sub-district (taluka) headquarters to provide affordable meals to all. The manifesto lists schemes like providing sanitary napkins to poor girls and women for free and at a token Re 1 for others, three-gram gold “thaali” (sacred thread) along with Rs 25,000 for the marriage of young women from BPL households, forming special flying squads to address distress calls by women from Bengaluru, among others. The party said it was committed to make Bengaluru a “zero garbage” city, by recycling of all sewage generated and through other steps. (IANS)