Bengaluru: With an eye on returning to power in Karnataka, the BJP on Friday released its manifesto for the Assembly elections by promising free smartphones to poor women, free laptop to students entering college and visits to China and Israel by farmers.
"Our manifesto aims to cater to the aspirations of the people of Karnataka. We have focused on the welfare of farmers, women, youth and backward sections," said the Bharatiya Janata Party's state unit head and Chief Ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa.
"All women from below poverty line (BPL) families will be given free smartphones under a 'Mukhya Mantri Smartphone Yojane'," Yeddyurappa told the media. And every student enrolling in a college will get a free laptop.
One thousand farmers will be allowed each year to travel to countries like Israel and China to study the best practices in agriculture under the "Chief Minister's Fellowship for Agriculture", the manifesto said.
The document proposes to waive off all farmers' loans upto Rs 1 lakh from nationalised banks and cooperative banks in the very first state Cabinet meeting. Assembly elections are due on May 12.
The party said it will support about 20 lakh small and marginal dry land farmers through a direct income support of Rs 10,000.
"We will ensure that farmers receive 1.5 times the cost of production as Minimum Support Price (MSP)," read the 60-page manifesto.
The party will set aside Rs 5,000-crore "Raitha Bandhu Market Intervention Fund" to support farmers during price fluctuations.
"An amount of Rs 100-crore will be allocated for 'Raitha Bandhu Scholarship' to be given to farmers' children to pursue agriculture and allied sector courses in the state," the manifesto added.
The BJP leader said the party will earmark Rs 10,000-crore for a "Stree Unnati" Fund to set up women-run cooperatives across the state and establish stores to market the products made by the women at district and sub-district headquarters.
The party said it would ensure more work opportunities in the state but did not specify the number of jobs it aimed to create.
The BJP also said it will reintroduce the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation Bill, 2012.