Karnataka assembly elections: Parties compete with freebies and economic promises
Deccan Chronicle.| Sanjay Basak
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai performs 'Bhumi Puja' for the tourism development works of Anjanadri Hill at Anegundi, in Koppal district, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (PTI)
New Delhi: With a little over a month to go for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, it is raining sops, schemes and freebies in the poll-bound state. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come down heavily on the "revdi" culture – a reference to votes for freebies -- the Opposition, especially the Congress, has come up with a slew of freebies. Topping the list is the Congress’ promise to provide 10 kg rice each month under the "Anna Bhagya Yojna" and Rs 2,000 for women. That is not all. Voters are being offered gifts ranging from pressure cookers, utensils, LIC premiums to pilgrimages to Tirupati and Shirdi. Promises of giving 2,000 units of free electricity were also being made. The Congress has also been offering a "guarantee card" for its promises.
In a bid to counter the Congress’ spree of freebies and the alleged use of "revdi" culture, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has indicated that he was drawing up a roadmap to achieve the status of $1 trillion economy for Karnataka by 2032. He said that a committee constituted by the planning department, headed by the additional chief secretary (finance), assisted by Ficci and McKinsey, along with other bureaucrats and industry experts, had recommended a set of initiatives to increase the state’s GDP to $1 trillion.
Reaching out to the crucial rural votebank, the chief minister claimed his government was focusing on micro-irrigation and digitising agriculture to boost post-harvest management. "I am happy to see the recommendations of the committee aim at increasing the growth rate of agriculture from 13.3 per cent to 16.3 per cent, industry from 8.8 per cent to 16.8 per cent, the service sector from 13.6 per cent to 16.9 per cent, aiming for an overall growth rate of 16.8 per cent by 2032", Mr Bommai said.
It was also claimed with "Karnataka creating 50 lakh jobs in the last three years, the state is witnessing a major scaling up in various sectors". Responding to the Opposition allegation of unemployment increasing in the state, the CM asserted that "there is a big strength of the Government of India and Karnataka has a minimum unemployment problem". A BJP leader claimed that Mr Bommai has turned Karnataka into "one of the growth engines of India".