Kochi: Wooing voters with promises to provide 36 lakh employments, rice for Rs one a kg for the BPL families and Agriculture loans at 3 percent interest, the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) on Friday released its manifesto for the April 13 elections to the state Assembly after ironing out differences with two of its partners over seat allocations.
The grievances of the Communist Marxist Party (CMP) led by MV Raghavan and Socialist Janata (Democratic) of MP Veerndra Kumar has been amicably sorted out Opposition leader
in the state Assembly, Oommen chandy, KPCC presdient, Ramesh chennithala and UDF convenor, PP Thankachan told reporters here after discussions with the 2 parties.
CMP would be contesting in 3 seats --Nenmara, Kunnamkulam and Dharmadam and the party had surrendered the Nattika seat to the congress, while the SJ(D) would put up candidates in 6
constituencies-- Vatakara, Nemom, Mattannur, Kuthupramba, Kalpetta and Elathur.
The Congress will decide on the candidate for Nattika after consulting the party high command. With the addition of this seat, Congress would be contesting 82 seats in the polls.
Chandy said the Congress had fielded sitting MLA in Chittor and so could not accept the demand of SJ(D) for that seat and CMP`s demand for Azhikode also was not acceptable to it.
Chennithala said in some places protest meetings and demonstrations were held against the candidates list approved by the party high command. He warned that disciplinary action
would be taken against party workers if similar protests continued. In Udumbanchola in Idukki district, the party candidate would be Josey Sebastian and in Shorunur Shyamala
Jayaram, he said.
There was widespread discontent in the party over sebastian`s candidature, but the party stuck to its decision. In Shornur, there were reports that front would support MR Murali, leader of Janakeeya Vikasana samithi, a platform of CPI(M) rebels, who was expelled following his decision to cosy up to the Congress.
The salient features of the manifesto are: BPL families to be given rice at Rs one a kg while others would get at Rs 2 per kg and 25 kg rice to be provided a month to ration card
holders, setting up of Pepper and Horticulture boards, backdoor appointments to be reconsidered, 10th standard students to be given free bi-cycles, interest free loans for purchasing computers and motorbikes for students, Kochi metro project will be made a reality, within one year ensuring electricity connections to all households and exploitation of other state lotteries to be stopped.
Later addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by the Ernakulam Press club, Chandy, said the UDF was facing the elections with `full confidence`. The manifesto was a continuation of the programmes of the previous UDF rule.
Stressing on the development plank, he said the UDF had organised the Global Investors meet showcasing Kerala`s strength. `We should welcome investors, not drive them away`, he said.
About Rs 50,000 crore investment proposals had been received after the GIM, but the LDF government which came to power in 2006 failed to capitalise on the same.
`Development and Care` was the UDF agenda in the current polls, he said adding development should reach all sections of the society, it should be transparent and eco friendly. A
proper rehabilitation package for those whose lands are taken up for various projects was needed and they should be the first beneficiaries of the project, he said.
There is need to bring in more investments, create more employment opportunities.
Lashing out at Chief Minister VS Achutanandan for his `revengeful` attitude towards the opposition, chandy said UDF leaders will not be scared by intimidations that they would be
sent to prisons. Let the law take its course in instances where cases have been filed against opposition leaders, Chandy said.
Referring to the Palmolein case in which vigilance court has ordered further investigation, chandy said the Chief Minister had not stated so far what evidence he had against him (Chandy) now. No action has been taken for 20 years, he said.
On the UDF`s opposition to LDF government`s implementation of Rs 2 per kg rice, he said the front was not against the scheme but the manner in which it was being used during election time. This was only an `election stunt` of the front, he said.