Our land policy is better than that of the govt of India, says Raman Singh

Nation

Days before the first phase of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh has a tough task at hand. The party's manifesto is yet to be announced and dissent has grown after ticket distribution. Hoping for a hat-trick, Singh speaks to Ashutosh Bhardwaj about his tenure and the challenges facing the state.

What will be your chief electoral plank this year?

The promises we made five years ago have been met be it rice procurement or bonus for farmers. We will go to the people and say that we met all our promises and will now fulfill the promises of the new manifesto.

Congress says many of your promises remain unfulfilled. In fact, you promised a bonus of Rs 270 per quintal of rice in 2008, but provided it just a few months ago. Is it appropriate to meet poll promises on the eve of another election?

We had asked the Congress-led Central government to provide Rs 2,000 samarthan mulya, but when Delhi did not listen, we provided Rs 270 from the state budget.

What will be your promises this year?

We will soon issue a manifesto regarding development projects in various sectors.

Your candidates still talk of free rice scheme. It already won you a poll in 2008, can it get another?

We have already moved from food security to nutrition security. Now we provide salt and grams. We cover 42 lakh households from the 32 lakh that we did earlier. Still, the rice scheme will greatly benefit us during polls. People trust that we can implement this scheme with total transparency. They are satisfied with us.

There is agrarian unrest across Chhattisgarh. Farmers' land is being snatched by middlemen and illegally transferred to industries, but the government has not prevented this. Instead, the government's involvement has been found in several cases.

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