With just six days to go before Madhya Pradesh votes for the Assembly elections, the BJP released its manifesto for the state on Saturday. The party, which has ruled in the state since 2003, with the exception of about 15 months between 2018 and 2020, is looking for another term and its manifesto has a slew of promises geared towards making that happen.
The Congress, which was elected in 2018 but lost power after the rebellion by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in 2020, is hoping to capitalise on anti-incumbency and better its 2018 performance, when it won 114 of the state’s 230 seats and formed the government despite being two short of the majority mark.
The Congress had released its manifesto on October 17 and many of the promises made by both parties are similar.
All For ‘Ladli Behna’
A big focus of the BJP in these elections has been women’s empowerment, and the flagship Ladli Behna Yojana was launched in June, under which eligible women from poor families get Rs 1,250 every month. In its manifesto, the BJP has promised free education for girls from poor families until they finish their post-graduation.
It has also announced cooking gas cylinders at Rs 450 for beneficiaries of the Ladli Behna and ‘PM Ujjwala’ schemes and increased the entitlement amount under the Ladli Lakshmi scheme from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. Under this scheme, parents of girl children get a certain amount when the child is born and various instalments at certain milestones in the girl’s life. The beneficiary gets a lumpsum amount after she turns 30.
The Congress, meanwhile has promised Rs 1,500 per month to eligible women under the Naari Samman Yojana and a gas cylinder for Rs 500. It has also announced Rs 2.51 lakh for the Meri Beti Ladli Yojana.
The BJP has promised to purchase wheat at Rs 2,700 per quintal and paddy at Rs 3,100, as well as financial assistance of Rs 12,000 for farmers. The Congress, on the other hand, had said it will buy paddy at Rs 2,500 and wheat at Rs 2,600 per quintal, and promised a crop loan waiver.
The BJP has announced 10 major resolutions and PM Modi’s guarantee. Some of these are that all poor families will get free ration and pulses, mustard, oil and sugar will be made available at subsidised rates. Other promises include establishing a Madhya Pradesh Institute of Technology on the lines of IIT and a Madhya Pradesh Institute of Medical Science on the lines of AIIMS in each division of the state and ensuring at least one employment or self-employment opportunity for every family.
The 96-page manifesto, which the BJP calls its ‘Sankalp Patra’, was released by party president JP Nadda, state chief VD Sharma and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh.
“The importance of the manifesto, Sankalp Patra, has been declining slowly with time because political parties first attract people with promises and then forget. They make promises, forget, and mislead the public. But the BJP is the only party that has implemented the manifesto in letter and spirit. It is our track record,” claimed Mr Nadda.
The Congress has, however, said, the BJP manifesto is full of lies. “Today, the BJP released its manifesto for Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls which is brimming with ‘jumlas‘. It also indicates that the departure of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is imminent,” said Congress leader Supriya Shrinate.