Friday, 20 March 2009

Election manifestos go global

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 18: Election manifestos have now gone global. All major
political parties in the State have borrowed the best of governance systems
from around the world in a bid to win over the local voters this general

If one political party has copied the Brazil model of helping the poor, the
other wants to replicate the irrigation system adopted in China to turn
perennial drought-hit lands greener. Those engaged in drafting manifestos are
busy going through the administrative set-up in developing countries,
collecting the best of them to be incorporated locally. The entry of film actor
Chiranjeevi into politics and his assertion to bring about "change" ala Barack
Obama has forced the old political players to launch a search internationally
for the best of promises and schemes.

The Telugu Desam, which wants to wrest power from the ruling Congress,
has taken the lead by studying the politico-social models in Latin American
countries including Brazil, Chile and Venezuela, where people living below
the poverty line are paid monthly allowances.

Former Union minister Ummareddy Venkateswarlu, who looks after the
Telugu Desam's manifesto, does not hesitate to admit that the "cash transfer
scheme" of his party was influenced by the social security programmes being
adopted in some Latin American countries.

"We have contacted Telugu-speaking people living in South America for
their inputs. We went for the cash scheme as it is not only attractive but also
beneficial to a large section of people. In fact it is a novel programme, first of
its kind in the Indian sub-continent," he points out.

The Congress, on the other hand, is looking towards the Chinese model of
irrigation (Three Gorges Dam) to turn backward Telangana fertile and
prosperous. Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has been quite often
referring to this model to give a boost to his Jalayagnam campaign.

The BJP too talks of the Chinese irrigation model and plans to make it a
reality in Telangana, where it has commendable following. Not to lag behind
the Left parties too reiterate their Russian and Chinese forms of socialism,
albeit with an Indian touch.

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