Karnataka: JD(S) releases poll manifesto

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Bangalore, May 5: The Janata Dal (Secular) has promised distribution of free gas stoves to people living Below the Poverty Line (BPL), home loan waiver for low income groups and abolition of Common Entrance Test (CET) for admissions to professional colleges, to woo the electorate ahead of the three-phased Karnataka Assembly polls.

Releasing the party's election manifesto, containing 54 promises, here today, JD(S) president and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said the manifesto had been prepared, keeping in mind the interests of all sections of the society. The JD(S) promised to waive off all loans taken under various housing schemes by poor farmers, village craftsmen and other low income groups. It promised to scrap CET, which weighed heavily against rural students, and make qualifying examinatons as the basis for admissions to professional colleges.

Referring to reports of denial of job opportunities for locals in the IT and BT sectors, Mr Gowda said the party would strive to secure 30 per cent reservation for Kannadigas in the sectors.

The party would also strive to get classical status for Kannada and introduce a health insurance scheme with the Government contributing 100 per cent premium amount.

In a bid to appease the minorities, the party assured to create a special cell to implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee and the Karnataka State Minorities Commisison. It also promised to provide a monthly pension of Rs 500 as retirement benefit to all Peshimams and Mouzans of mosques through the Wakf Board.

Dubbing the BJP and Congress' promise to provide free power to farmers as a ''hoax'', he criticised the Congress for not taking any measure to improve power generation in the state.

''Our party is committed to ensure quality power supply to the farming community,'' he said.

Mr Gowda exuded confidence that the JD(S) would come back to power on its own strength and that his son H D Kumaraswamy would be the next Chief Minister. ''The party will prefer to sit in the Opposition, rather than joining hands with either the Congress or the BJP,'' he averred.

UNI

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