The Shiv Sena, which is trying to put up a brave face amidst widespread dissidence in its ranks, and its alliance partner BJP released a joint manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena-BJP’s poll manifesto goes all out to woo the voters. The saffron combine has promised free and compulsory education till the SSC exam, a Rs 500 monthly pension to farm labourers, loans to farmers at 4% interest, a comprehensive social security scheme and affordable homes for the urban poor. The Sena-BJP’s joined election manifesto was released by Uddhav Thackeray, Gopinath Munde and Nitin Gadkari at Sena Bhavan on Monday. Gadkari said that if elected to office, the Sena-BJP would generate additional power and end load-shedding within three years. He lambasted the Congress-led Democratic Front (DF) government for worsening the power situation. The saffron combine has promised 15% reservations for the economically-backward classes, educational loans to students and an employment guarantee scheme for urban areas. The Sena-BJP has also prepared Vision 2014, a document to restore Mumbai’s glory and strengthen its infrastructure. Munde said, “We will turn Mumbai into a first-class, international metropolis. The Bandra-Worli Sea-Link will be extended to Versova in the north and Nariman Point in the south.” In an attempt to re-bond with Marathis, the saffron combine has promised 80% reservations for Marathis and a scheme to promote and propagate Marathi language and culture. Uddhav said the Sena-BJP government would also undertake a desalination project to meet Mumbai’s escalating need for water. The Sena-BJP also would, if elected to office, make public the Ram Pradhan committee report on the 26/11 attack, Uddhav said and added that the police force would be strengthened. In reply to a question, Uddhav ridiculed Sena MLA-turned-Congress candidate Sada Sarvankar’s allegations that he had instigated the MLA’s supporters to attack Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s residence recently. Coming down heavily on MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Uddhav said the MNS has been propped up by the Congress. “There is not a shred of doubt that the MNS is helping the Congress. While Raj routinely criticises the Sena-BJP, he doesn’t utter a word against the Congress and the NCP because he is afraid that the ruling DF may pack him off to jail like a mouse is sent to a trap.” Uddhav said the Sena-BJP’s chief minister would be chosen at the time of forming the government. PROMISES GALORE Free, compulsory studies till SSC End load-shedding in 3 years 80% job reservation for Marathis Loans at 4% interest to farmers Rs 500 monthly pension for farm labourers Affordable homes for urban poor Make public the Ram Pradhan report on 26/11 With Dhiraj Mishra, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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