Cong, BJP harp on populist announcements in MP

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Bhopal, Nov 21 (UNI) Both Madhya Pradesh's ruling BJP and main opposition Congress have raised development-centred issues, including electricity, in their manifestoes that stress on populist announcements for luring the state's roughly 6.5-crore populace.

While releasing the Congress manifesto here, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the state -- which was ''grappling with a power crisis'' -- would eventually boast of a nuclear power plant that would be set up with central assistance. The manifesto mentions the plant.

On the other hand, the saffron party -- which took the lead in issuance of manifestoes -- indicated advancement towards self-sufficiency in electricity and promised round-the-clock power in villages and towns after the BJP returned to power. Its manifesto also mentions generation-related schemes.

Both the parties, playing a game of one-upmanship, promised highly-subsidised wheat. The Congress left the BJP behind in holding out an assurance of free salt to the poor while the latter party promised salt at 25 paise per kg.

Impoverished families who are Antyodaya beneficiaries would receive wheat at Re 1 per kg and poor families at Rs 2 per kg, as per the Congress, while the BJP spoke of farm loans at 3 per cent interest and the Congress assured of an arrangement for free electricity for pumps upto 5 horsepower.

The ruling party mentioned an agricultural income insurance scheme while the Congress assured that peasants' disputed power bills would be waived.

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