Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress manifesto promises happiness for all

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In its manifesto ahead of 2017 assembly polls, Gujarat Congress on Monday promised to carve out quota in jobs and education for Patidars and other non-reserved castes without disturbing the existing 49% SC, ST and OBC quotas. The party has promised to waive off farmers loans and provide at least 16 hours of electricity for irrigation.

Describing it as a people's manifesto, Solanki said that it had addressed all the frayed nerve points of Gujarat cutting across all sections of society.

The manifesto also envisages setting up Rs 32,000 crore corpus that would provide finance to 25 lakh youth for self-employment, abolition of the fixed salary contractual appointments by the government and turning them into permanent employees and provisions of an unemployment allowance of Rs 4000 per month.

"Equal opportunity and equal empowerment of all citizens is the fundamental policy of Congress party", the manifesto said.

The Congress will consult various stake-holders and will appoint a commission to identify the communities to be included in the "special category", as per the manifesto.

The party manifesto also promised reservation to the Patidaars under the Economically Backward Classes category.

The party says that Value-Added Tax will be reduced to Rs 10 by the price of petrol and diesel.

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# Rs 4,000 allowance for unemployed youths.

The 60-page manifesto, which party sources said, is likely to become the template for the party's manifesto for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls, focuses on education, health, agriculture, jobs and small and medium enterprises (SME) sectors.

The Congress also promised to convert self-financed courses in government and aided institutions into grant-in-aid courses, thus reducing the fee burden by 80 per cent, according to the manifesto. The Congress also chargesheeted BJP government which has been in the power for 22 years, alleging that the saffron party has failed to live up to its promise of delivering Gujarat free of fear, hunger and corruption.

Fast track court to be set to deal with a number of crime cases against women.

On food security, the party promises to lauch "Indira Canteen" across the state which would serve food at Rs 10 per plate. It also commits to implement a "happiness index' to measure holistic growth, instead of the gross domestic product (GDP)".

"Constitutional values will be kept at the centre of (all) discussions rather than nationalism", the manifesto states, while it doesn't mention terms like "secularism" or "minority rights".

The Congress says that its committee was preparing the manifesto from August.