Kolkata, April 17: The Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is contesting solo in West Bengal after failing to reach a seat-sharing agreement with its INDIA bloc partners in the state, released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Kolkata on Wednesday. "Today's manifesto is what we are committed to do when TMC as part of INDIA will form the Union Government," TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien said at a joint press conference with Principal Chief Advisor to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Amit Mitra and State Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on Wednesday.

The TMC which is in staunch opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), whose Rules were recently notified by the central government, promised to do away with the controversial legislation once it comes to power at the Centre along with the INDIA bloc. "After reading the manifesto you will find how the BJP-led central government is taking away the basic rights of the people like food, clothing and housing. You will find how the BJP is destroying the basic structure of democracy, how they are stifling voices of the Opposition. Our leadership was humiliated when they went to Delhi, detained and targeted," Mitra said before reading out the manifesto. Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Campaigning for First Phase Ends, Voting on 102 Seats Across 21 States on April 19

Among the big-ticket promises, the TMC announced 10 gas cylinders free of cost every year to Below Poverty Line families and free 5 kg ration to very ration card holder. "Every BPL family will get 10 gas cylinders free of cost every year. This will also ensure environmental friendly cooking. Every ration card holder will get 5 kg ration free of cost. It will be provided to every ration-holder's doorstep free of cost," Amit Mitra announced.

Promising 100-days employment and houses for all poor families, Mitra said, "All job card holders will be guaranteed 100-days work and all labourers throughout the country will get minimum Rs 400 daily wage. Every poor family will get guaranteed cemented and disaster-resilient houses." The TMC also promised legal guarantee of Minimum Support Prices to all farmers as per Swaminathan Commission's recommendations. The MSP will be set at a minimum of 50 per cent higher than the average cost of production of all crops, the party said.

The party said, that the cost of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders will be capped to ensure affordability. It also promised to establish a 'Price Stabilisation Fund' to manage fluctuations in prices. For the youth the TMC promises one-year apprenticeships with monthly stipends to all graduates and diploma holders up to 25 years of age. It has also promised Student Credit Cards of up to Rs 10 Lakh will be provided to students pursuing higher education. Will Repeal NRC, CAA if INDIA Bloc Voted to Power, Says Mamata Banerjee at Lok Sabha Election Rally

For women, the party has announced scholarship for girl students in line with Kanyashree scheme and financial aid for all women akin to Lakshmir Bhandar. The TMC has also promised to replace the Ayushman Bharat health insurance program with a stronger health insurance program with an increased cover of Rs 10 Lakh in line with that of West Bengal. The party announced that it will increase the number of higher education scholarships for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes students. It has also promised to increase Old Age Pension for individuals aged 60 and above to Rs 1,000 per month.

The first phase of polling will kick off across the country, including West Bengal on Friday, which will be voting in all the seven phases. Though the TMC is part of the INDIA bloc, it does not have a seat-sharing arrangement with the other parties in the alliance, like Congress and the Left parties in the state. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC won 34 seats in the state, while the BJP had to settle for just 2 seats. The CPI (M) won 2 seats, while the Congress bagged 4. However, the BJP came up with a much-improved showing in the 2019 polls, winning 18 seats against the TMC's 22. The Congress's tally dropped to just 2 seats, while the Left scored a blank.

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