Decoding BJP manifesto: Saffron party eyes to make a dent into BJD women vote bank

Odisha Politics

Bhubaneswar, May 5: What does the Odisha state BJP’s election manifesto reflect? Does it intend to make a cut into BJD’s vote bank? A closer look at the document clearly makes a statement that the saffron party is surely trying to make a dent into the regional party’s women vote bank, besides seeking to get support to elderly people.

The Madhya Pradesh-like manifesto for, christened as ‘Sankalpa Patra,’ promised to create 25 Lakhpati Didi in Odisha by 2027 and provide Rs 50,000 cash voucher to every woman which can be encashed in two years. The manifesto also promised to provide a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to every girl child till she attains 21 years of age. College going girls will be provided a subsidy to buy electric vehicles.

The Lakhpati Didi Yojana and other benefits announced for females are seen as an attempt to make a dent into the vote bank of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

The BJP announced to fill up at least 1.5 lakh vacant government posts in the first one year of the Government.

For lakhs of small depositors who were duped to the tune of nearly Rs 20,000 crore by fraud chit fund firms, the manifesto promised to return their money in just 18 months.

Knowing that the ruling BJD is trying to reap a rich political dividend from the Puri’s Sri Mandir Parikrama project, the BJP manifesto claimed that the Parkrama project was completely a mess and it would rebuild it as a world-class spiritual centre after assuming power. Besides, the document declared the party’s commitment to open all the four gates of Jagannath Temple, Puri, for smooth conduct of darshan of Lord Jagannath.

The BJP president Nadda said once the BJP forms its government in Odisha, it will open Lord Jagannath’s Ratna Bhadar which has remained locked for nearly five decades.

“Despite demands from lakhs of Jagannath devotees, the Naveen Patnaik government is not opening Ratna Bhandar. People doubt if all the treasures stored in Ratna Bhadar are safe or there has been some kind of meddling,” said the BJP leader.

The party announced to build Odisha Bhawan in all metro cities.

For old-age people, widows and physically-challenged persons, the manifesto promised to increase their monthly pension to Rs 3,000. Pensioners of welfare schemes above the above 80, will get Rs 3,500 monthly.

The party announced complete implementation of PM Awas Jojana under which 10 lakh houses will be built in rural areas and 5 lakh houses in urban areas.

For farmers, the manifesto promised to start the Samrudh Krushak Niti under which it will ensure the tripling of irrigated agricultural land by expediting stalled projects and complete saturation of irrigation schemes by 2029.

“We will set up Rs 3,000-crore Krushi Sangrakhyana Kosha to set up cold storage facilities, and agro-processing units in all blocks and establish two export-specific pack houses in Odisha,” the manifesto said.

On the education front, the party said it will formulate and enact a state-level education policy, aligning with the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020), within three months of assuming office, ensuring swift progress towards holistic educational reforms.

“We will provide legal, medical and engineering courses in Odia. We will provide tablets to each and every student from classes 9 to 12 at government schools. We will launch the Digital Education Empowerment Program (DEEP) to provide advanced digital learning infrastructure under which we will set up state-of-the-art computer laboratories in all government schools,” the document mentioned, adding it will upskill all qualified Anganwadi workers to become Academic Resource Persons (ARPs), enabling them to teach preschool students.

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