Promises galore: How Telangana voters are responding to poll guarantees

On 17 September, the Congress revealed six assurances aimed at benefiting the people of Telangana, aligning with the five commitments it had previously made in Karnataka.

BySumit Jha

Published Nov 29, 2023 | 9:18 PMUpdated Nov 29, 2023 | 9:22 PM

Promises galore: How Telangana voters are responding to poll guarantees

Samakka sat on a parapet under a tree at Rajapally village in Huzurabad constituency. The 60-year-old nodded at an asbestos-roofed house. “This has been my home for years,” she said.

Samakka has heard about the Dignity (2BHK) Housing Scheme of the BRS government for the underprivileged in Telangana. “I haven’t received one,” she said with visible disdain.

“The 2BHK houses are constructed near Huzarabad. But the government has not allotted them to anyone,” she added.

The sexagenarian seemed to have lost hope in the BRS government’s promise of providing a house. However, she presented a solution.

“I belong to the Padmashali (weavers) community, categorised under the Backward Classes (BCs). I own the land where my house stands. We just need financial assistance to build a house, The Congress, through its Indira Indlu scheme, has pledged support, and we hope it will fulfil the promise,” she said hopefully.

Under its six guarantees, the Congress has promised to provide house sites and ₹5 lakh to the homeless. The party’s manifesto also outlined plans to allocate ₹6 lakh to the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, along with 250 square yards of land for all Telangana movement activists.

The six guarantees

On 17 September, the Congress revealed its six assurances aimed at the people of Telangana, aligning with the five commitments it had previously made in Karnataka. The guarantees are as follows:

Samakka showing her Bathukamma saree, as her neighbour looks on. (Sumit Jha/South First)

Samakka showing her Bathukamma saree, as her neighbour looks on. (Sumit Jha/South First)

Mahalakshmi:

  • Women in Telangana will receive ₹2,500 every month.
  • Gas cylinders will be available for ₹500.
  • Free travel in RTC buses for women.

Rythu Bharosa:

  • Farmers in Telangana will receive ₹15,000 per acre annually.
  • Tenant farmers will also be provided with ₹12,000 per year.
  • An additional bonus of ₹500 per year for paddy crops.

Gruha Jyothi:

  • 200 units of free electricity to every household.

Indiramma Indlu:

  • 250-sq-yard plot for all Telangana movement fighters.
  • House site and ₹5 lakh for individuals without houses.

Yuva Vikasam:

  • This scheme targets the youth of the state.
  • It includes a Vidya Bharosa card worth ₹5 lakh for students.
  • The establishment of a Telangana International School in every mandal.

Cheyutha:

  • Elderly people will receive ₹4,000.
  • ₹10 lakh Rajiv Arogyasri insurance.

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Schemes at grassroots level

At the grassroots level, the Congress’ six commitments are finding resonance with the underserved sections. Vijaylakshmi, a tenant farmer, emphasised the significance of the Rythu Bandhu scheme.

Unlike the current benefit offered by the Telangana government, she appreciated the Congress’s plan to extend its benefits to tenant farmers like herself.

Vijayalakshmi in the chilli field. (Sumit Jha/South First)

She said she has also been eagerly looking forward to the promised free electricity for households and complimentary bus rides for women. “It will be easy for us to visit Warangal if free buses are available,” Vijaylakshmi told South First.

In the fields of Shivuni Palli village in the Ghanapur constituency, 46-year-old M Laxmi, too, looked upbeat over the promised ₹2,500 for women.

According to Laxmi, this financial support would prove invaluable in various ways.

“We don’t have to depend on men to get some money. We can save the money for many occasions for which our men may not provide funds and may even lead to disputes. It will provide some independence from the men,” Laxmi said.

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Not everyone is happy

Ganpathi Gudepo, who resides in Hyderabad but makes regular visits to his village, the Mallaram village in the Manthani constituency, expressed dissatisfaction over the various guarantees offered by the Congress.

Ganpathi Gudepo along with other villagers. (Sumit Jha/South First)

Ganpathi Gudepo along with other villagers. (Sumit Jha/South First)

“First, look at Karnataka. They promised to provide free electricity. Now the whole state is grappling with power disruption. Industries are getting only eight hours of electricity in Karnataka,” Gudepo claimed.

He gave a thumbs down to the free bus service for women. “If you are going to provide free bus tickets to them across the state, what about men? There won’t be any seats left for the men. Also, these women will go to cities and towns, and who will cook food and take care of the children,” he asked.

However, he appreciated the Congress offer of ₹2,500 to women. “These women work hard at home, and it will be beneficial for the family,” Gudepo reasoned.

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Some are hopeful

Saroj outside the veterinary hospital. Her husband and goats are also seen. (Sumit Jha/South First)

Saroj outside the veterinary hospital. Her husband and goats are also seen. (Sumit Jha/South First)

In the Sirpur constituency, several women were unaware of the guarantees. Rajeshwari from Andavelli village was one among them, though she had heard of Indiramma Indlu.

“When YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister (of united Andhra Pradesh), people used to receive money through this scheme to build houses. If the Congress government comes this time, I, too, will probably get money through this scheme,” Rajeshwari said.

On the other hand, 55-year-old Saroj from Huzurabad constituency was not aware of any scheme.

“Whatever they provide to us, that’s the only idea I have,” she said.

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What about BRS?

In the heart of Ramakrishnapuram in the Munugode constituency, the rural community is happy with the BRS manifesto.

A focal point of the manifesto is its dedication to social welfare, with a particular focus on the Aasara pension, a crucial support system for beneficiaries that include the elderly, single women, and differently-abled individuals.

Amidst the rural landscape, Sunitha P is deeply involved in the final stages of cotton sorting, a significant agricultural activity in the region.

Seated on the concrete floor with fellow women, she expressed discontent over the omission of two women from the pension list.

However, her mood brightened on learning about the phased increase in the pension amount to ₹5,000 per month.

“Our family has two elderly women, and though their names are missing from the pension list, the increased amount will be sufficient for them to purchase medicines for a month. It’s a relief,” remarked Sunitha optimistically,

Another concern echoing through the rural landscape is related to the Rythu Bandhu amount. S Anil Kumar, a cotton cultivator from Madhira, expressed frustration over not receiving the amount since 2018.

Contemplating leaving his land to grow fodder, Kumar sought assistance from the revenue officer ahead of the Assembly elections, but his plea remained unaddressed.

Despite these challenges, there are ardent supporters of the BRS manifesto, such as Kaza Manga from Ramalayam Bazar in Madhira.

Expressing satisfaction, Manga said, “We benefitted from previous schemes like the Aasara pension and Kalyan Lakshmi. With the promise to increase Aasara pension to ₹5,000 and an additional ₹3,000 under the Saubhagya Laxmi scheme for eligible women, we are optimistic about the future.”

In Ibrahimpatnam, a daily wage labourer’s family shed light on their struggles as minority holders of ration cards. The quality of rice distributed through the public distribution system has been a persistent concern. The BRS manifesto has promised to distribute fine rice to families with monthly ration cards.

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