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Gehlot promises Rajasthan-like schemes if Cong wins in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Aug 24: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday promised that several people-oriented and social welfare schemes implemented in his state by the ruling Congress, will be replicated in Gujarat if the party is voted to power following the Assembly elections due later this year.

These schemes will also find a mention in the party's manifesto for the Gujarat elections, he said, adding that industrial development will also be promoted on the lines of Rajasthan. In Ahmedabad to hold meetings on the Gujarat Assembly poll preparations, Gehlot while talking to reporters denied speculations that he was the top choice to be the next Congress president.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

Gehlot said if the Congress is voted to power in Gujarat, it will introduce a health insurance scheme like the one implemented in Rajasthan, old pension scheme, separate agriculture budget and day-time electricity to farmers, employment guarantee scheme, quality food for Rs 8 per plate, English medium schools, among other things.

"We are here to win the election. BJP is exposed after 27 years of its rule in Gujarat...Rahul Gandhi has said that the (Congress's) election manifesto will be based on what the public thinks, which is what was done the last time," he said. "People-oriented schemes that were implemented in Rajasthan after the Congress formed a government there will be rolled out in Gujarat as soon as it comes to power here and will find a place in the party's election manifesto," he added. The Congress government will implement the Chief Minister Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, wherein beneficiaries can avail cashless treatment, he said.

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The government will also come up with the old pension scheme for all those who have joined government jobs after January 1, 2004. It will provide electricity for agriculture during the day, which has been implemented in 16 out of 33 districts of Rajasthan, with the rest of the districts to be covered by next year, Gehlot said.

"The new government will also provide Rs 5 per litre milk subsidy to dairy farmers, implement 'Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme,' financial assistance for widows, orphans, 'Indira Rasoi Scheme' to provide fresh and nutritious food at Rs 8 per plate in urban areas, opening of English medium schools, etc," the senior Congress leader said.

He said that the new government will also encourage investment in Gujarat on the lines of 'Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd (RIICO)' and 'Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme (RIPS).' Last week, the party launched its Gujarat election manifesto campaign and assigned the task to former AICC general secretary Deepak Babaria.

Teams of party workers will hold meetings across the state and collect suggestions gathered from the people which will be reviewed by the committee before they are finalised and put into the manifesto, party leaders said. Gehlot said he is working as the senior observer for Gujarat polls and as the CM of Rajasthan on the party high command's direction.

"I have been given the job of senior observer for the Gujarat elections by the high command, I am fulfilling this duty. Secondly, I have been made to work as the chief minister and I am not compromising on it, working day and night as our aim is to again form government there (in Rajasthan)," he said. Asked about reports appearing in a section of media that he is seen as the top choice for the Congress president's post, Gehlot said, "I am hearing it from the media.

We started 210 new schools in Rajasthan in last three years: GehlotWe started 210 new schools in Rajasthan in last three years: Gehlot

My media friends also asked me in Delhi as to when I am becoming (the party president). I don't know. Don't know how media friends come across such things." As the countdown for the Congress president election has begun, Gehlot had earlier said Rahul Gandhi should accept the role considering sentiments of the party workers across the country.

Gehlot had said the party was "unanimously" in favour of Rahul Gandhi for the post. The party's election authority has said it will stick to the schedule of electing a new chief by September 20.

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