Bihar Assembly elections | Congress manifesto likely to focus on current political issues

Large-scale migration of workers, unemployment and women’s security to feature prominently

Creating employment opportunities, including filling up existing government vacancies; sops for farmers, plans to tackle large-scale migration of labour; and improving security for women, are among some of the key promises that the Congress party is going to make in its Bihar manifesto, a party leader said on Friday.

To be called the “Parivartan Patra” (document for change), the Congress is likely to focus on recent issues that have shaped the Opposition party’s politics. For example, to go with the party’s ongoing protests over the three recently enacted farm bills, the manifesto will talk about offering minimum support price (MSP), and government procurement to farmers, if it comes to power.

Though large sections of the population in the State are engaged in agriculture, the system of offering MSP to farmers is not followed, as it is done in Punjab and Haryana.

Another recent issue that will figure in the manifesto would be the party’s plan to prevent large-scale migration from the State.

Bihar, along with Uttar Pradesh, witnessed the largest reverse migration in the initial period of the lockdown ordered to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly 40 lakh migrant workers from these two States were estimated to have returned, many on foot from their workplaces in other States, after losing their livelihoods because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“The Congress manifesto will talk about increasing rural employment opportunities by increasing avenues under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), so that more people can be absorbed within the State,” said the party functionary. There will also be a plan for skill development for workers, and a promise of equal pay for equal work, he added.

Law and order, and crimes against women, will also have a special focus as Bihar had seen 18,587 cases of crimes against women in 2019, as per latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

On Thursday, Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev had attacked the Janata Dal-United and Nitish Kumar for giving a ticket to former minister Manju Verma from Begusarai as her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma was an accused in the Muzzafurpur shelter home scandal in which 34 minor girls were sexually abused.

“Immediately, they should cancel her candidature. I hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji, who consistently says Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (save the girl child, educate the girl child) walks the talk and makes sure that this lady’s candidature is cancelled,” Ms. Dev had said at a press conference.

Of the 243 Assembly seats in the State, the Congress is contesting in 70 seats in an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Left parties. The RJD is contesting in 144 seats and is leading the coalition.

Polling for the three-phase elections in Bihar will be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7, and results will be declared on November 10.


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