BJP pledges 'KG to PG' free education, 33 % quota in govt jobs for women in Bengal manifesto

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Kolkata, Mar 21 (PTI) Promising 'KG to PG' free education, 33 per cent quota in government jobs, free travel in public transport for women, strict enforcement of the new citizenship law, and a Rs three lakh accident cover for farmers, the BJP Sunday unveiled its election manifesto for the West Bengal assembly polls.

In an apparent effort to counter the ruling TMC's 'Bangla Nijer Meyeke Chai' (Bengal wants its own daughter) slogan hailing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Union Home Minister Amit Shah released the manifesto that promised employment generation and social security, while laying extra emphasis on welfare of women.

Releasing the 'Sonar Bangla Sonkolpo Potro', Shah said that BJP will ensure the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme and the PM-Kisan programme in the state, besides giving at least one job to every family.

He promised payment of arrears of Rs 18,000 to each of the 75 lakh farming families of the state under PM-Kisan, a scheme, which the TMC government decided to implement belatedly.

With the farmers protest still continuing at the borders of the national capital, Shah announced raising the assistance under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi to Rs 10,000 annually, if the BJP is voted to power in the state. He said while the Centre will extend a grant of Rs 6,000 already declared by the Modi government, the rest will be borne by the state.

The party also announced a Rs 5,000 crore intervention fund to assure farmers' economic security.

The manifesto promised a Sonar Bangla fund with a corpus of Rs 11,000 crore to promote art and literature, besides a Rabindranath Tagore Prize on the lines of the Nobel Prize, as the party sought to reach out to an electorate proud of its cultural heritage.

Taking a leaf out of the Congress's promise of Universal Basic Income promise during the Lok Sabha polls of 2019, Banerjee had released the TMC's manifesto on Wednesday that sought to reach out to the 49 per cent women electorate with the promise that the woman guardian of every general category family will get Rs 500 every month, while the amount will be Rs 1,000 for SC/ST/OBC families.

She had also announced a monthly pension of Rs 1,000 to widows above 18 years of age.

'After forming the government, we helped lakhs of widows, senior citizens, and specially-abled people through monetary assistance. For the first time, every family in Bengal will be extended a minimum basic income. Benefits will be directly transferred to the woman head of a family,' Banerjee had said.