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Karnataka manifestos different only in colour

Updated: May 03, 2013, 11:33 AM IST

Pankaj Sharma/ Zee Research Group

Keeping all options open, BS Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka and president of Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), has applied the formula of taking everyone together. In his party’s manifesto for Karnataka polls, while he partly endorsed BJP’s ideology by endorsing many of their schemes, he also promised to implement the Karnataka Food Security Act on the lines of UPA’s flagship programme. Barring this spin, manifestos of mainline parties have little to offer in terms of differentiation.

The common threads across manifestos include an interesting feature: promoting English language in schools. But there is no consensus on whether or not teaching the language will be made mandatory. This apart, sops such as providing potable drinking water, uninterrupted power supply, distribution of rice to poor families at cheap prices, providing free laptops to students et al are being offered by almost every major party in the state.

Moreover, parties have also vowed to stand up against corruption, which has already caused many political storms in the state. No clear cut road map is though available to enforce the slogan.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto has showcased achievements during the last five years apart from a list of freebies. The saffron outfit promised free laptops for students and better waste management in the state. It also offered 25 kilograms of rice to the poor families at Re 1 per kg and pledged reservations for women in local bodies and compulsory yoga in schools.

Taking leaf out of BJP’s manifesto, Congress also focused on corruption, freebies, farmers and youth. Congress, which is the main opposition party in the state, promised 30 kg of rice for Re 1 per kg to BPL families and a loan waiver to farmers. Its manifesto also promised to provide free laptops to all students of the two-year pre-university course (PUC).

Both BJP and Congress have promised to start English teaching to school children. While BJP’s manifesto said that teaching good and correct English in Kannada medium schools would all be a reality, Congress promised to start teaching schoolchildren English as a subject from standard one. But, Yeddyurappa thinks otherwise.

The KJP in its manifesto vowed to promote Kannada instead of English in the state. It wants to use English only when it is “absolutely necessary”.

A 50-page document of KJP mostly highlighted the achievements of the BJP government during Yeddyurappa’s regime and promised to carry forward most of BJP’s scheme. KJP also endorsed UPA’s Food Security Bill and urges the Central government to implement the Act immediately.

Applying a slightly different strategy, Janata Dal-Secular of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda has come out with a separate manifesto for Bangalore. The manifesto has many features including loan waiver for farmers and weavers, old age pension up to Rs 8000 and quality hospitals in the state. JD(S) wants to introduce English as a medium in government schools since it opens up opportunities.

Wooing the minority voters JD(S) also promised to implement the recommendations of Justice Sachar Commission for which they will create a corpus of Rs 2,000 crores.