NEW DELHI: Elections in Karnataka will be held on Saturday and the state has seen fever pitch campaigning by top leaders, each attempting to woo voters through their unique campaigning styles.
Here are some of the key issues that voters would consider while exercising their franchise tomorrow:
• FARMER CRISIS: The BJP claimed during its campaign that more than 3500 farmers committed suicide under the "anti-farmer" Siddaramaiah Government. The BJP said that if the Yeddyurappa Government is voted to power in the state, farmer loans of up to Rs 1 lakh would be waived off for each farmer. The BJP also promised that with a fund of Rs 1.5 lakh crore, every field in Karnataka will be watered.
The Congress, on the other hand, has promised to double farmers' income and constitute a statutory Farmers Income Commission. To tide over the agrarian crisis in 2017, the Siddaramaiah Government waived off farmer loans of up to Rs 50, 000 per farmer at an estimated cost of Rs Rs 8,165 crore to the state exchequer.
The Congress Government in Karnataka also asked the Centre to waive off farmer loans from nationalised and rural banks. It also promised to compensate farmers against the loss of crop revenues owing to natural calamity or otherwise, through the Annadaata Fund at a state or district levels.
The Janata Dal (Secular) in its manifesto also promised to waive off 100 percent farmer loans. Also, Additional procurement price of Rs 150 per quintal on all cereal crops and Rs 500 for pulses.
• POLLUTION and TRAFFIC CONGESTION: The Congress has promised to reduce incidences of urban flooding and minimise its impact on the people. The Congress said that it will ensure that cities and their surroundings are free from all filth and ensure zero adverse impact of municipal solid waste on the environment and society.
The Congress said it will introduce a technology-enabled, auto-synchronized traffic management system with connected signals across the city to improve traffic movement across the city.
The BJP manifesto said that it will set up 24x7 Air Quality Monitoring Stations in urban centers of all city corporations with live updates about the level of pollution being made available on the KSPCB website. Also, it plans to strengthen the state pollution control board to ensure effective functioning and accountability.
It also promised to invest Rs. 2,500 Crore in the "Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Fund" to clean and revive the lakes and rivers of Bengaluru and also free Bengalureans from the clutches of the water tanker mafia.
To avoid the traffic menace, the BJP said it will introduce a comprehensive infrastructure action plan recommended by a committee of infrastructure and traffic experts to be constituted after forming the government.
The JD(S) manifesto aimed at rehabilitating all mining areas in the state. It also said solid waste management will be given highest priority in both urban as well as rural areas. And added that steps will be taken to eliminate open defecation in all the Corporation areas, CMC and TMC areas in next five years.
• WOMEN: The BJP has promised to give free smart phones to women and three-gram gold mangalsutra for all brides in the below poverty line category. The manifesto also promised to constitute a Special Investigation Cell, under a woman police officer, to investigate crimes against women.
The Congress also promised to give three-gram gold to all women belonging to the BPL category. And said that it will give free education to girls at post-graduation level. The Congress also promised to Implement sexual harassment prevention policy in all establishments and constitute fast track courts to try sexual harassment cases.
The JD(S) has manifesto promised assistance of Rs 6,000 per month for three months to pregnant women, prior to delivery and after. They also said that hostels for distressed women will be constructed in every district. And a suitable legislation would be brought to address domestic violence
• YOUTH, EMPLOYMENT: The BJP in its manifesto promised to provide every college-going student with a free laptop. It also offered Government-sponsored foreign education for more than 400 Schedule Tribe students.
The BJP also promised to set up six "K-Hubs" as the biggest incubators and working spaces for startups in India at Hubbali, Bengaluru, Raichur, Mysuru, Mangaluru, and Kalaburgi.
The Congress promised smartphones to college-going students between age of 18 and 23. And also said that it will provide free education in Government schools until grade 12.
According to the Congress manifesto, startups will get a subsidy of about Rs 1 crore to kick-start production. The subsidy will also have a grant component up to Rs 25 lakh and loan up to Rs 75 lakh.
The JD(S) manifesto has promised that healthcare would be provided to labourers of unorganised sector. They will also be provided with identity cards.
The JD(S) manifesto has also talked about increasing the minimum wages of labourers.
• SOCIAL SCHEMES: The BJP manifesto claims that more than 300 Annapoorna Canteens would be set up Corpus of Rs 7500 crores would be invested to provide modern amenities to OBCs, and housing schemes for the SC, ST communities.
The Congress has promised to set up a separate OBC commission and 75% concession in education admission for OBC studies. The Congress manifesto also talked about POCSO courts being held in child-friendly rooms.
The JD(S) manifesto announced schemes for the welfare of SC/STs, minorities and the youth and promised free education for girls in all courses.
• CORRUPTION: India's national parties continue to level corruption charges against each other.
The BJP has accused the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka of being the most corrupt party in the nation. The BJP called the Karnataka Government "10 percent commission government".
Even two days before the BJP accused the Karnataka Government of resorting to foul means to win the election when fake voter ID cards were recovered from Jalahalli area of Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency.
However, Congress refuted such claims, and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said that the BJP is using state machinery to its advantage. The BJP told the voters that by voting for the party they will vote for a corruption-free government in the state.
While the BJP has been rallying on the cards of developmental politics and populist manifesto, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress is relying on the Chief Minister's resonance with the Kannadigas in the state, and their time-tested AHINDA formula - Alpasankhyataru (Minorities), Hindulidavaru (Backward Classes) and Dalitaru (Dalits), calling themselves a party for all.
An incumbent Congress is leaving no stone unturned to remain in power in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections, while the BJP is looking at this election as its gateway into the South under the leadership of B.S Yeddyurappa. (ANI)