Congress Manifesto Pushes For Rural Help, Jobs
Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The ruling Congress party said on Tuesday in its election manifesto that it would introduce measures to ensure that economic growth was maintained and protect farmers from the impact of a global slowdown.

The party said it would extend interest relief to farmers and build on the national job guarantee scheme, both seen as potential vote winners in the April/May general election.

"When I look at the opportunities, I am convinced that this country can move forward on a road to faster, more equitable growth," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the launch of the manifesto.

Congress also said it would maintain government control over state-run firms in the manufacturing and finance sectors.

The main battle in the April 16-May 13 election will be between a coalition led by the left-of-centre Congress Party and an alliance led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has traditionally been more business.

Many polls show that the Congress-led alliance could beat the main opposition grouping led by the BJP, but it could still fall short of a majority in parliament.

The ruling Congress government gained power in 2004, but many of its economic reforms were blocked by its communist allies which supported the alliance in parliament.


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