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BJP election manifesto in UP woos farmers, aspirational women voters and Hindutva supporters

The BJP releases its manifesto for Uttar Pradesh elections (Photo: IANS)

With 48 hours to go for the first phase of the crucial elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP in Lucknow released its much-awaited election manifesto named 'Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra'. Home Minister, Amit Shah, chief minister, Yogi Adityanath were among the BJP  heavyweights who released the manifesto at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan at Gomti Nagar in Lucknow. 

While keeping an eye on the farmers, the manifesto did not lose sight of its core Hindutva constituency .

The manifesto promised "free electricity" for the farmers, but also offered a 'Ramayan University" at Ayodhya and "stricter Love Jihad Law." The BJP manifesto rolled out 10 years jail term and an Rs one lakh fine for an accused arrested under the "Love Jihad" law.  The party also promised the renovation of the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. 

The 13-month long farmers' unrest in states has somewhat disturbed the BJP's applecart in UP.  The party, which won a triumphal majority in 2017 assembly polls (312 of the 403 assembly seats) found the going tough as the farmers cutting across caste and communities went up in arms against the ruling establishment over the contentious farm laws.

Sensing the resentment may not have disappeared, the manifesto while promising "free electricity" also asserted that if returned to power, it would "double the amount" of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PMKISAN) scheme for landless farmers. The present amount being offered under the PMKISAN scheme is Rs 6000. While earmarking Rs 5000 crore renewal for sugar mills, the manifesto promised wheat and paddy would be available at Minimum Support Prices.  The BJP also promised to give two free cylinders at the festival of Holi and Diwali. 

While unemployment has become a major weapon for the Opposition to target the BJP, the manifesto promised to double the state's per capita income and attract up to Rs 10 lakh crore in investment. The BJP manifesto promised jobs or self-employment for one member of each family in the state. 

With women emerging as a major force and being targeted by all the parties, particularly Congress launching its campaign theme-"Ladki hun, lad sakti hun(I am girl, I can fight), the BJP wooed the female voters by promising to give a 'scooty' to the female students and working women. It also talked of providing free coaching to female students preparing for UPSC and PSC. For women over 60 years of age, the manifesto promised free public transport. It also promised to raise the amount for 'Mukhyamantri Kanya Sumangala Yojna from Rs 15000 to Rs 25000. It also promised to offer Rs one lakh loan at nominal interest to women looking for self-employment. 

The manifesto also promised free tablets and smartphones for the students going for online education, which has been going on due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Promising to provide free sports kits to the sportspersons it also promised to launch the Major Dhyan Chand Sports Infrastructure Mission.

Flexing its muscles and adhering to the much professed muscular nationalism, the manifesto intended to set up 'Anti-Terrorist Commando centres in the state.  The manifesto also promised to set up anti-corruption units across the state.

Releasing the document, the Home Minister claimed that the party has "fulfilled more than 92 per cent of 212 promises made in the 2017 poll manifesto."

Also Read: How crucial will be the voting in the first two phases in Uttar Pradesh?