Doing away with the Anti-Corruption Bureau, reinstating the full powers of the Lokayukta, enacting a Karnataka Whistleblower Act, setting up a 24×7 anti-corruption helpline and establishing a task force within a month of assuming office to end sand, land and mining mafias – the battle against corruption was one of the main themes of the BJP manifesto released on Friday.
Titled ‘Namma Karnatakakke Namma Vachana’ (Our Promise to Our Karnataka), a 60-page manifesto was unveiled by BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa. The “realistic” manifesto would swing 2-3% of the votes in favour of the party, he said.
The anti-corruption helpline, the party said, would function directly under the chief minister’s office so that complaints could be heard and redressed immediately. The whistleblower law, it said, was aimed at those who dared to expose corruption.
The promises have come against the backdrop of the saffron party fending off charges of shielding the corrupt, while having given tickets to kin, aides and loyalists of G Janardhana Reddy of Ballari who is accused of illegal mining.
“We are committed to reducing the burden of debt on our Annadaatas. We will announce a crop loan waiver up to Rs1 Lakh, including all loans from Nationalised Banks and Co-operatives,” said BS Yeddyurappa. BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje stated the saffron manifesto as a vision document for that will expectations of Karnataka voters.
The manifesto also stressed on social welfare schemes, promising Mukhya Mantri Annapoorna Canteens on the lines of the existing Indira Canteens to provide food at subsidized rates for urban poor. Three canteens in each district headquarters and one in each taluk headquarters have been planned. There is no mention on whether Indira Canteens will be renamed. The manifesto also promised food security for all through Annadasoha scheme on the lines of existing Anna Bhagya programme of Siddaramaiah government.
For Bengaluru, BJP promised to extend the Metro to all urban areas of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Region in a phased manner. The party has also proposed to expand the existing Purple Line till Hoskote bus terminus on one side and Bidadi bus terminus on the other. Similarly, the Green Line will be extended till Kanakapura bus terminus on one side and Anjanapura on the other.
About law and order, BJP has promised to make all efforts to set up an office of the National Investigation Agency in Mangaluru to curb the increasing number of crimes. The party also promised to recommend for banning PFI and KFD which, according to BJP, indulged in promoting communal hostility.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi called BJP’s manifesto a “poorly crafted fantasy built around a weak plot” and asked voters not to waste their time on it. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi gave the BJP’s poll document a “1/5 rating”. In an elaborate tweet, he said, “New Book Review! The BJP Karnataka Manifesto, inspired by Narendra Modi, is a poorly crafted fantasy built around a weak plot, that has nothing unique to offer voters. If you’ve read the Congress Manifesto, don’t waste your time on this one. “Rating: 1/5? Recommendation: Avoid,” he said. The Congress manifesto also released on April 27, promised to spend Rs 1.25 lakh crore on irrigation while BJP has promised Rs 1.5 lakh crore.