The political campaign for the bankrupt Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is heating up with the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday announcing several freebies in its manifesto: Free tablets for government school students in view of difficulties in accessing online education during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rs 25,000 for each family affected by the recent rains in the city, free electricity for families that consume less than 100 units, and, taking a leaf from the Congress manifesto, free travel for women in city buses and metro trains.
The document, released Thursday by former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, didn't mention free COVID-19 vaccine for all. The saffron party had made that promise during campaigning for the Bihar Assembly election, which sparked a controversy.
The GHMC manifesto said that the vaccine will be given by the GHMC as per the Central Government's plan.
The party also named senior party leaders, including JP Nadda and Amit Shah, as well as firebrand Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath as its star campaigners for the upcoming polls.
The party also promised 28,000 jobs, an end to the Layout Registration Scheme as well as housing for eligible candidates under PM Awaas yojana and free electricity for barbers, dhobies and repair shops, if elected to the GHMC.
It also said an effective plan would be prepared to control the spread of COVID-19 in the city which would enable everyone in the city to get tested for the virus free of cost.
The manifesto also promises free drinking water supply, setting up three new women police stations every year and one toilet per kilometre for women.
Here are some of the promises made in the BJP manifesto:
1. Free water tap connections and 24-hour water supply at no charges
2. Waiver of property tax for SC colonies and slums
3. Free electricity up to 100 units, and free power for barbers, dhobies and repair shops
4. Homes for the homeless under PM Awaas Yojana
5. Relief of ¹25,000 for flood victims' families
6. Scrapppng layout registration scheme
7. Corona vaccine and tests for all
8. Celebrating 17 September as Telangana Liberation Day
9. A ladies' toilet every kilometre
10. Free rides for women in metro rail and city buses
11. Exemption of fines and challans for two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections are scheduled to be held on 1 December.
Asked about an official release from the CMO that state government has information that some leaders were trying to foment trouble ahead of the civic polls, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy told PTI that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao should say clearly who is trying to create trouble.
Reddy had described the TRS manifesto as old wine in a new bottle. Free power to hair-cutting salons and Dhobi Ghatswas an old promise of TRS, he alleged. He further alleged that the TRS government did not initiate any work for management of floodwaters in the city during the past six years.
"Same words and same promises of 2016 polls were once again printed on a new paper (as manifesto). Same promises were repeated again... you claim that Hyderabad is a global city. But this turned out to be a city of sorrows in the recent flood. Many people died," Reddy told reporters on Monday.
State BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar and other leaders were present on the occasion.
As per a report in The Hindu, Telangana BJP president and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay caused a stir by threatening to take up a "surgical strike not to kill but to weed out" illegally staying Rohingya nationals as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan citizens in the Old Hyderabad city.
Earlier this week, the Congress had unveiled its manifesto where it promised 20,000 litres of free drinking water per month to city households voted to power in the civic polls, and Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of those who lost their lives in the recent heavy rains, besides Rs five lakh to every damaged house and Rs 2.5 lakh to partially damaged ones.
Similarly, every flood-affected family would be given Rs 50,000, the party had said in its manifesto.
Free pure drinking water via RO (Reverse Osmosis) water vending machines in slums and double bedroom housing complexes, COVID-19 treatment under'Aarogyasri', a government health insurance scheme and free local transportation for women, students, divyangans (differently-abled) and senior citizens in Metro rail, MMTS and RTC Buses.
It also promised complete waiver of property tax and electricity bills to shops belonging to barbers, washerfolk, carpenters and goldsmiths and added that permission would be given free of cost by GHMC for these communities.
With inputs from PTI