As Telangana, the country’s youngest state, prepares for the Assembly elections in November 2023, let’s delve into the respective visions of the main parties for the state.
The political landscape in Telangana is currently charged with anticipation as the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Indian National Congress (INC) have unveiled their respective manifestos for the upcoming assembly election scheduled for 30th November, 2023. The manifestos serve as crucial roadmaps, articulating the ideologies, intentions, and policy frameworks that each party envisions for the state’s future.
As we delve into the analysis of these manifestos, it becomes apparent that they not only fulfil a statutory requirement but also offer a profound glimpse into the core values and aspirations that will shape the political discourse leading up to the elections. In this examination, we aim to dissect the key elements of the BRS and INC manifestos, providing a nuanced understanding of their visions and priorities for Telangana in the forthcoming electoral battle.
Defining Telangana’s Path: A Peek into BRS’s Latest Manifesto
Since the formation of Telangana in 2014, the primary focus of Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao has been on addressing key issues highlighted during the movement for statehood, such as job creation, providing irrigation facilities to farmers in the semi-arid region, and uplifting marginalised communities. Over the past decade, the BRS Government has initiated various development projects and welfare schemes. The manifesto of the ruling party, released on 15th October, reaffirms this commitment. It includes promises like offering a life insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh to the state’s below poverty line (BPL) families, supplying superfine rice through the public distribution system to all ration card holders, and increasing pensions for senior citizens, single women, and disabled persons. In essence, the manifesto underscores the party’s steadfast dedication to advancing the core vision of development and welfare in Telangana.
Charting Telangana’s Future: Exploring INCs Vision
The Congress’s Telangana division has experienced a revitalization, buoyed by the party’s recent success in Karnataka. Employing its well-established strategy, the grand old party in Telangana has, thus far, adhered to its familiar playbook by making pre-election commitments to back initiatives related to women, farmers, housing, and providing financial aid for education.
The Congress has introduced its ‘six guarantees’ for the state, which includes cooking gas cylinders at a subsidised rate of Rs. 500, complimentary travel for women on state transport buses, a monthly allowance of Rs. 2,500 for women, and free electricity for households up to 200 units. Furthermore, the party has committed to ‘Rythu Bharosa,’ pledging annual financial aid of Rs. 15,000 for farmers and Rs. 12,000 for agricultural labourers.
Manifesto Showdown: Decoding the Blueprints for Progress
The BRS manifesto stands out in certain areas, particularly in its commitment to bolster financial assistance. While the INC pledged Rs. 2,500 under the Mahalaxmi Scheme for women, the BRS has elevated this amount to Rs. 3,000 through the Saubhagya Laxmi Scheme. In the case of Rythu Bharosa, the INC provides Rs. 15,000 to farmers, whereas the BRS has increased it by Rs. 1,000, setting it at Rs 16,000 per acre annually. Additionally, the Aasara pension offered by the BRS exceeds that promised by the Congress under Cheyutha by Rs 1,000.
Decoding the Ground Reality of the Promises
In the vibrant political landscape of Telangana, Polstrat’s groundbreaking research in one of the constituencies of the state unveils a fascinating electoral pulse. A whopping 80% of voters are chanting in favour of the BRS manifesto, praising the Chandrasekhar Rao Government for turning promises which he made during the 2018 Assembly elections into action. Rythu Bandhu and Aasara Pension schemes have become the heroes, winning hearts across the constituency.
On the flip side, the Congress promises find resonance with only 11% of the electorate. Why? Well, voters aren’t fans of freebies and have reservations about unfulfilled pledges from Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao’s previous term. The allure of schemes such as Dalit Bandhu and Gruha Lakshmi remains unfulfilled, leaving the electorate less than impressed.
Promises vs. Performance: Unpacking Telangana’s Past Manifesto
The Chandrasekhar Rao government has recorded both success and failures in the implementation of the promises his party made during the 2018 Assembly elections.
There are instances where promises have been fulfilled, such as the increase in the Aasara Pension amount. However, there are also areas where the promises have not been implemented, like the unemployment allowance and the original Gruha Lakshmi Scheme. The Ryuth Bandhu scheme has seen an increase in the promised amount. The reservation promises have seen partial implementation, and the establishment of food processing industries is partially fulfilled.
The manifestos presented by the BRS and the Congress for the upcoming Assembly election in Telangana, underscores the nuanced policy approaches and competing visions each party envisions for the state’s future. The BRS, as the incumbent party, emphasises continuity with its commitment to development and welfare, offering specific promises for BPL families, senior citizens, women, and disabled individuals. On the other hand, the INC, experiencing a revitalization in the state, has laid out a set of ‘guarantees’ reflecting its focus on issues like women’s empowerment, farmer welfare, and affordable housing. While both manifestos address similar themes, key differentiators emerge in the quantum of financial assistance promised by each party.
As Telangana prepares for the crucial assembly election on November 30, 2023, voters will weigh these contrasting promises, evaluating which party’s vision aligns more closely with their aspirations for the state’s future. The manifestos, therefore, not only serve as policy blueprints but also as vital documents shaping the narrative and choices in this impending political contest.
Shriyanshu Singh/ New Delhi
Contributing reports by Pavitra and Kanika, Researchers at Polstrat.
Infographics by the Graphic Design Team at Polstrat.
From Polstrat, a non-partisan political consultancy which aims to shift the narrative of political discourse in the country from a problem-centric to a solutions-oriented approach.