In a bid to out-do the ruling Congress party and others in populist promises, the main opposition Telugu Desam party on Thursday announced that if it comes to power in the next month's elections to the state assembly, it will provide a colour television set to each poor family in Andhra Pradesh.
The promise, made in the party's manifesto released in Hyderabad by Party President N Chandrababu Naidu, will benefit about 1.2 crore families who hold white ration cards in the state.
Apart from promising TV to ensure the poor families also remain aware of what's happening in the world and get their share of entertainment, the TDP has also promised free rice to the Below Poverty Line families, each getting 20 kg a month. This will be in addition to the monthly pension ranging from Rs 2000 to Rs 1000 to the families of different economic status.
While the families living below poverty line will get pension of Rs 2000 per month, and a poor family will get Rs 1500 a month, for the first time a middle class family will also be included in the purview of a welfare program giving it a pension of Rs 1000 per month.
"The monthly pension will be deposited in the account of a woman family member and it can be accessed through an electronic card on the lines of ATM card", Naidu said.
The TDP, which had strongly opposed the Congress promise of free electricity to the farmers in 2004, has now turned around and promised to continue the same and improve it further by ensuring supply of 9 hours of electricity to the farmers.
As Congress' scheme of free health insurance "Rajiv Arogyasri" for the poor families proved to be a stupendous success, the TDP has also decided to focus on the free health care for poor as well as the middle class families.
Meanwhile not to be left behind, the Praja Rajyam party of Chiranjeevi also came out with a draft manifesto with a plethora of populist promises including 10 hours of free electricity to the farmers and uninterrupted power supply to the villages, and a packet of pulses and food grains for Rs 100.
The draft manifesto released by senior party leader P Upendra also promised ten lakh government jobs in three years and recruitment of the educated physically challenged persons in to the government jobs.
The party has also promised to set up an old age home in every district and increasing the pension for to Rs 500 per month. The promises to women range from allotting the ration shops to women and striving to get the women's reservation bill passed in the Parliament.