K'taka Cong leader Laxmi Hebbalkar: 'Rs 2K promise will gain confidence of women'

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 18-01-2023 | 11:45 am

K'taka Cong leader Laxmi Hebbalkar: 'Rs 2K promise will gain confidence of women'

As part of its “second guarantee” ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress unveiled the ‘Gruha Lakshmi Scheme’ Monday, promising Rs 2,000 per month to each woman head of a family. As the Congress hails it as a game changer to get women into the party fold, MLA and former chief of the Karnataka Congress’s women’s wing, Laxmi Hebbalkar, explains the party’s reasoning and why it expects the scheme to work:What is the Congress’s objective behind the promise of Rs 2,000 per woman head of a household?HEBBALKAR: This assurance is part of our election manifesto. Our promise is in response to growing inflation, which is driving an increase in prices of all essential goods. With this scheme, we want to especially strengthen rural women. At a time when prices of gas cylinders, oil and other goods are rising, we want to provide women some relief. If we give them a subsidy for LPG, they will get only that. Giving them money is better as some large families require two gas cylinders per month and some can make do with just one.Just giving subsidies is a sort of injustice to large families. But with the money, they can decide whether they want to buy gas or other essential items. This is the intention… Every woman head of a family, irrespective of its economic situation, is eligible. For instance, if my mother wants Rs 2,000, she can claim it. We have also promised 200 units of free electricity for everyone.Are you expecting electoral dividends, with more women voting for the Congress?HEBBALKAR: This is election time. If I deny and say that this was not done with elections in mind, it would not be fair. Of course, we have announced this popular programme aimed at women keeping the coming Assembly elections in mind. This is like Anna Bhagya (a scheme offering grains at a very low price to all families, launched by then Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2013).Yes, this money can be used for women’s benefit. She can purchase her medicines or whatever she requires with the amount.Do you think such measures can help overcome caste-based politics and force parties to keep gender issues in mind?HEBBALKAR: I can only say that this will help the party. We will gain the confidence of women, we will get the support of her family. We think that one woman is not a single vote, but is equivalent to five votes. She can influence her husband, son, in-laws.You talk of empowering women, is the Congress also thinking in terms of increasing their representation in the Legislature?HEBBALKAR: For many years, the party has strived for upliftment of women. Even today (January 16), Siddaramaiah spoke about the women’s reservation Bill (at a rally attended by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi). During UPA-II, (Congress leader) Sonia Gandhi tabled the Bill to ensure reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. This was not passed due to opposition by some parties. But now, we are seriously considering providing more and more opportunities to women.However, we all know that winning is a criteria (in elections). And me, Roopakala M (Kolar Gold Fields MLA), Anjali Nimbalkar (Khanapur) and Sowmya Reddy (Jayanagar) won from four constituencies where the Congress had rarely won. We have proved that women can win in constituencies where the party had lost hope. We are giving our own example to the party high command and trying to convince them to give tickets to women in such constituencies. We have assured the party that we will fight and come back with a victory. This time we hope that due to the influence of Priyanka Gandhi, Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar, more tickets will be given to women.You represent a constituency in the Kittur Karnataka region (formerly Mumbai Karnataka). The Congress faced challenges here in the 2018 elections and performed below par. What are your plans for this election?HEBBALKAR: Whichever party, be it the Congress or BJP, wins more seats in the Kittur Karnataka region, forms the government. This time, unlike 2018, the scenario is very different (for the Congress). People of this region are fed up with price rise, corruption and other issues. They see Siddaramaiah, other Congress leaders and the party as capable of offering better governance, as was the case in the 2013 Congress government.Also, there is no internal strife among Congress leaders in the region. Compared to 2018, there are no more internal fights. This will benefit us.Since you represent the Panchamasali community, how will their reservation demand have a bearing on the coming elections?HEBBALKAR: I have to be very direct about this. The current government has to announce 2A reservation for Panchamasalis. Not only that, they have to reveal the procedure by which they will implement it. Only then can the BJP hope to make any gains from it.(The Panchamasali Lingayats have been agitating for nearly two years for 15% quota under OBC 2A category. Partly to meet this demand, the state government recently announced 2D category for the Lingayat community, along with 2C for Vokkaligas, with the promise of 6% of the 10% EWS quota. The Panchamasalis have rejected the same.)

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Times of India | 1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 07:09 am
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Ndtv | 1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 03:13 pm
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The Economic Times | 4 days ago | 27-01-2023 | 05:11 pm
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said that in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break all records and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will retain power with a thumping majority. He was talking to reporters after attending the live screening of 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' event addressed by PM Modi. Shinde saw the programme at the municipal school in Kisan Nagar locality of the city, where he had studied.Stating that he was pleased to witness the 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' programme in Thane, where he grew up, Shinde added that he was proud of being a civic school student. Replying to a question on the results of a recent political survey conducted by a media house on the next year's Lok Sabha polls, he said, "In the next general elections, PM Modi will break all records and the NDA will return to power with a thumping majority." Shinde said a survey conducted on just a handful of people does not give a true picture. "They ignored the results of the recently-concluded gram panchayat elections, where the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (Shinde-led faction) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed very well," he said. "In politics, two plus two is not always four. A survey based on just a handful of people does not give the real picture...I have got the details of how many people were surveyed. I do not want to go into any figures," he said. In the two-and-a-half years before he became the chief minister, a "government with negativity" was in power, Shinde said while referring to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray. But there is a government with positivity in the state now. There was dissatisfaction in the state during the previous government's rule. But we launched several development works and changed the entire atmosphere in the state, he said. "Now, even I will not be able to say as to who will join hands with whom and whose alliance will break apart. But the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena and BJP have been doing good work and this is a government of the common man. People have already decided whom they will vote for and we understand people's response," he said. "The survey said that the NDA government will come to power and that the popularity of PM Modi is increasing. Is it any different in Maharashtra?...We will be leading whenever elections are held. People of the state have already made up their mind. Hence, those who want to enjoy the opinion poll results for the next one-and-a-half years, let them enjoy," he said. "We are not afraid of elections. Future itself will give replies to the predictions of the survey," he said. During his visit to Thane city on Thursday, Shiv Sena (UBT) president and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had alleged that the Sena and Maharashtra were defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the MVA government.Replying to Thackeray's remarks, Shinde said, "We give replies through our work. If you make two allegations, we will carry out four works. It will be our reply. People are not interested in allegations and counter-allegations." "When 50 MLAs, 13 MPs and several office-bearers of the party across the country and even close relatives deserted them, then they should have done soul searching and introspected. Instead of that, they are indulging in allegations. I wish them all the best," he said. Students from 968 schools, including 140 civic ones, in Thane witnessed the 'Pariksha pe Charcha' programme at their schools, BJP MLC and party's Thane city district president Niranjan Davkhare said in a release.

In 2024 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi will break all records and NDA will retain power: Maha CM Shinde