BJP manifesto: What Modi's pandora's box has on offer?
DNA | Dec 03, 2012, 06:00AM IST
Ahmedabad: It's a carefully crafted manifesto for the coming assembly elections in Gujarat.
In a well planned strategy, Narendra Modi has pulled out all stops to woo mainly four sections of society -- urban, rural, youth and the 'newborn' middle class.
To retain power and demolish the highly-popular 'ghar nu ghar' scheme of the Congress, the Chief Minister has announced a 'highly pro-people' election manifesto that has created ripples in the grand old party.
Modi said the BJP regime would set up 50 lakh houses for rural and urban Gujarat. "I don't want people to migrate to other areas in search of shelter, I want them to stay where they want and feel at home," Modi told Dailybhaskar.com.
"Congress' ghar nu ghar scheme is a dud. They won't be able to befool 6 crore Gujaratis. They are just aping the BJP government. We have set up 22 lakh houses across Gujarat. So it's nothing new."
The manifesto, a copy of which Dailybhaskar has managed to get, promises 28 lakh low-cost houses in rural and 22 lakh in urban areas at the cost of Rs 33, 000 crore.
However, Modi's promise to build low cost houses has not gone down well with his critics. "It's a tall claim. 50 lakh houses means 3,000 houses per day. It's not feasible," political expert Rahul Shukla said.
With a view to win political favour from Gujarat youth, Modi has left no stone unturned to lure the young vote bank.
The CM assured that the state government would become guarantor for bank loan for youngsters, who start their own venture. This implies that loans would be paid back from state treasury, in case the student fails to do so.
The other youth centric promises comprise network of hostels for 40,000 higher education students, skilled young work force, Vidya Laxmi Bond policies to promote female education, employment opportunities in rural areas (Gramin Rojgar Yojna), English medium government schools to empower kids from poor and middle income families, establishment of skill development corporation, skill development university and centre of excellence.
The manifesto also promises to create 2.5 crore strong skilled young force in next 5 years.
It also says the government would raise age limit for a government job from 28 to 30 years.
Playing the youth card, Modi said: "I not only worked on youth development but youth centric development to empower them... I believe Gujarat cannot progress sans youth."
"I want Gujarat youth to be national sports players and bring laurels to the state.... It is my dream. Therefore, we have decided to set up new BPOs, skill development and sports universities.
"I want each and every youth to be employed. In the next 5 years, Gujarat will be on top of the world's map on IT, industry and e-governance."
The Gujarat CM has also promised sops for farmers, poor and women.
"The BJP regime will set up new super speciality hospitals, provide safe drinking water, develop agro infrastructure and provide jobs opportunities to women," Modi told reporters.
He said over the next five years, electricity production would be doubles in rural areas.
The 20-pade document also talks about a ''pro-people'' Gujarat, female courts, holistic development of sports, women enpowerment, e-governance, urban and rural development, IT, new energy sources, agri-pwer resources, irrigation, development of adivasi-dominated areas, Dalit and neglected sections, wetland development, development of road network, wind energy, industry, promotion of ayurveda and naturopathic medicines, new speciality hospitals, Green Gujarat, among other things.
It also says the government will set up cancer and kidney institutes in Surat and Vadodara.
Eyeing a new vote bank, Modi said: "My manifesto also talks about my action plan. The development in Gujarat has not come overnight. I have been continuously working on it. I brought several schemes for middle class and lower middle class to boost their confidence. I will now empower new middle class and bring a new definition for them. We wil set up an expert committee to work on it."
"It is our promise to people and not a poll plank.... Don't see it as a 20-page document. Modi's pandora's box has covered all sections of the society from doctors, students, youth, women and farmers," Utkarsh Shah, head of BJP election manifesto committee, told Dailybhaskar.com.
"Our manifesto will be a ‘dream’ one with the party working for last sixth month to formulate it... It not just focus on development.... We have tried to keep aadm aadmi in mind and formulated a pro-people manifesto," Shah, also the member of BJP state executive committee, said.
BJP national spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman told Dailybhaskar.com that "Modiji has a vision for every section of the society. The manifesto will silence his critics in Delhi and Gujarat, who have been extremely critical of Modi and see his good work with jaundiced eye."
On how BJP's manifesto would be different from other parties, she said: "It would be historic..."
"Everything appears yellow to the jaundiced eye... They are raising dead issues... I am sure even if we satisfy 6 crore Gujaratis, the Opposition will feel insecure and continue their tirade against Modiji," she noted.
The party has gone aggressive on all completed development projects, including the Sardar Sarovar Branch canal.
It had received as many as 1,200 suggestions for the manifesto. The saffron party is chalking out a manifesto that can curb the Congress’s promises to give ‘Ghar nu Ghar’ and plots for poor and laptops to students. The party is also likely to declare a bonanza for the government employees in the form of just five working days a week.
The party had conducted micro survey about expectations and previous works by the government. And after scrutinising all aspects, it has prepared its manifesto. Modi himself has taken care of the final plan after changing it a couple of times.
Reacting to Congress criticism that the BJP manifesto has nothing new to offer, leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said: "They are incorrigible. They have to slam Modi no matter what. Let's not talk about them."
The Congress will also come out with its manifesto on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy: Ankur Tewari