SP promises laptops, tablets to students

One may call it the ‘Rahul effect’ or a reflection on who is calling the shots in the party. Samajwadi Party, which had opposed introduction of computers for children barely a few years ago, came out with its election manifesto on Friday.

It promised free laptops and tablets to students, besides reservation for Muslims in government jobs.

It also promises to ban land acquisition except in urgent cases. Earlier, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has tagged SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav for opposing computers and branded him “anti-development”.

The SP manifesto, which bore the stamp of young party leader Akhilesh Yadav has promised a free laptop to every student who has passed 12th standard and a tablet to every student who has passed 10th standard.

The manifesto, however, remains silent on where the money will come from to give an estimated 21 lakh laptops and 35 lakh tablets. At least 35 lakh students appear in high school examinations in the state, while 21 lakh students appear in intermediate examinations.

The SP also promised free education till 8th standard and to girls till graduation. The manifesto stated that the party will give reservation to backward Muslims and set up educational institutes in Muslim-dominated areas.

In an apparent bid to woo farmers, the SP has promised that there will be no land acquisition except when there is an urgent need. The consent of farmers will be necessary and land will be returned to the owner if it remained unused for three years. The SP also promised land compensation that is six times higher than the current rate.

The manifesto reiterated the party’s opposition to Foreign Direct Investment in retail.
SP spokesman Ram Gopal Yadav said the party was not opposed to English education. “When we are promising computers, how can we oppose English?” he said.

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