Haryana elections: Day before manifesto release, Hooda promises free power, hike in pension

Saurabh Prashar
Bhupinder Singh Hooda with Congress candidate Varun Chaudhary at a rally. (Express photo by Saurabh Prashar)

A day before release of the Congress’ manifesto for Haryana Assembly elections, former chief minister and party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced several promises for the people of the state here Thursday.

The promises included farmer loan waiver within 24 hours of coming to power, 300 units of free electricity to every household, increase in old age pension till Rs 5,100 and free travel for women in all Haryana Roadways buses.

Hooda, who was addressing an election rally in favour of local Congress candidate Varun Chaudhary, son of senior party leader Prem Chand Mullana, even promised that if Varun wins the seat, he will be given a ministerial rank in the state government.

The former chief minister said his announcements would be of Congress’ election manifesto, which will be released Friday.

He said, “The retirement age of a government employee is 58 years and the age limit for the old age pension is 60 years. It will be corrected. The age limit for a man for old age pension will 58 years and for a woman, it will be 55 years under Congress rule.”

He also announced that the recently implemented New Motor Vehicles Act notification, which massively increased the penalty for traffic violations, will be revoked in Haryana.

Hooda then went on to criticise the Manohar Lal Khattar led-state government for not fulfiling all its promises made in 2014. “The system was made so haphazard that if an ailing man/woman wants to take his/her old age pension, he/she will have to go to the bank on a stretcher. But in the Congress regime, there was a system, when bank employees came to the ailing persons to give them their pensions. On the front of employment and corruption, the Khattar government has failed,” he alleged.

Before Hooda addressed the gathering, Varun Chaudhary spoke to the gathering, saying, “This time the people of Haryana will challan the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government.” His father also addressed the rally.

Mullana is a reserved SC seat. In 2014, it was won by BJP candidate Santosh Sarwan, who was not given the ticket this time. BJP has fielded Rajveer Barada, a former INLD leader, who joined BJP recently.

Local Congress insiders said it will be a tough fight between Varun Chaudhary and Rajveer Barada, who has a stronghold among various communities here.

Congress manifesto

“The Congress will release its manifesto for Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls on Friday. Our focus will be on farmers, poor, youth, women, scheduled castes, backward classes, BPL families and other sections,” party’s senior leader from Haryana and convener of the Manifesto Committee, Aftab Ahmed told PTI over phone.

“We will come out with schemes for all them and other sections of the society as well,” he added.

Ahmed said that before preparing the manifesto, the party took feedback and views from a cross-section of people from the society.

“We have tried to include everybody’s aspirations and this will reflect in our manifesto. We will also come out with women-centric schemes,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, our party’s national president (Sonia Gandhi), state unit president (Kumari Selja) and chairperson of manifesto committee (Kiran Choudhary) are women,” he said.
“Our faujis (army personnel) and our sportspersons are our pride and manifesto will cover these sections.... There is something for the media persons too,” he said.
Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja had recently said that the Congress will announce a loan waiver for the poor and farmers in the state if voted to power. Speaking at Badshahpur in Gurugram on Thursday during poll campaigning, Selja said that in the party’s election manifesto priority will be given to foster brotherhood among various communities “because the present BJP government did nothing except dividing people”.
“In our manifesto, we have taken care of aspirations of all sections,” she said. WITH PTI