Home » News » Elections » As BJP Counters AAP, Cong 'Revadi' Doles With UCC and Olympics Pitch, the Gujarati Voter is Spoilt for Choice

As BJP Counters AAP, Cong 'Revadi' Doles With UCC and Olympics Pitch, the Gujarati Voter is Spoilt for Choice

The BJP has tried to better some of the promises made by AAP and Congress but not promised an unemployment allowance or a specific monetary benefit for women as the party’s stand has been that such politics is not good for the fiscal health of the government

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By: Aman Sharma

Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai

News18.com

Last Updated: November 26, 2022, 13:34 IST

Ahmadabad (Ahmedabad) [Ahmedabad], India

BJP president JP Nadda releases the party’s manifesto for Gujarat Assembly elections, in Gandhinagar, on November 26, 2022. (PTI)
BJP president JP Nadda releases the party’s manifesto for Gujarat Assembly elections, in Gandhinagar, on November 26, 2022. (PTI)

A Uniform Civil Code and anti-radicalisation cell for Gujarat plus a liberal dose of Hindutva, a mega development-cum-welfare plan promise by the BJP; doles like Old Pension Scheme, free power and unemployment allowance from the Congress; and add-on incentives from the Aam Aadmi Party like an allowance for all women — the Gujarati voter has been spoilt for choice these elections.

The BJP unveiled its ‘Sankalp for Agresar Gujarat’ manifesto for Gujarat on Saturday, days after the Congress and the AAP did the same to entice voters in their favour. While both the AAP and the Congress have promised liberal doles which the BJP has been attacking as ‘revadi politics’, the BJP manifesto has offered doubling the free medical insurance benefit for Gujaratis, besides appealing to the majority vote bank by promising implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in Gujarat as well as an anti-radicalization cell “to identify and eliminate potential threats, and sleeper cells of the terrorist organisations and anti-India forces".

This comes a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said those who created trouble in 2002 in Gujarat were “taught a lesson" by the BJP government and Gujarat had been peaceful since. The BJP manifesto also focussed a lot on development agenda of the BJP like setting up new sea food parks, investing Rs 10,000 crore in an agriculture fund and bringing new hospitals, including two AIIMS, to Gujarat. It has also promised Gujarati asmita, like a bid for 2036 Olympics.

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To counter AAP’s promise of bringing an education and medical treatment revolution in Gujarat in the government sector, the BJP has promised converting 20,000 government schools into Schools of Excellence with a budget of Rs 10,000 crore in the next five years, as well as doubling the annual cap under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat) from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per family and ensure free-of-cost medical treatment, plus launching the Mukhyamantri Free Diagnostic Scheme with a corpus of Rs 110 crore to provide free-of-cost diagnostic services in all government health institutions.

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What Congress and AAP Have Promised

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The Congress manifesto in Gujarat was similar to the one it offered in Himachal - it offers for Gujaratis 10 lakh jobs, implementation of the old pension scheme, 300 units of free power, Rs 500 per LPG cylinder, committee for MSP of each crop, free education, an unemployment allowance of Rs 3000 per month, loan waiver up to Rs 3 lakh and said it will rename the Narendra Modi cricket stadium after Sardar Patel.

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The Aam Aadmi went a step ahead, with its senior leader Raghav Chadha saying each Gujarat family would gain to the tune of Rs 30,000 per month by the host of benefits to be offered by the party. This included free education till post-graduation, free medical facilities, an unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 per month, free electricity. Rs 1,000 per month as assistance to each woman, Rs 3,000 to unemployed, free power unto 300 units, free water supply to farmers as well as the Old Pension Scheme.

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BJP’s Focus on Women

The BJP has tried to better some of the promises made by AAP and Congress but not gone the way of promising the Old Pension Scheme or an unemployment allowance or a specific monetary benefit for women as the party’s stand has been that such ‘revadi politics’ is not good for the fiscal health of the government.

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The BJP has, however, promised 20 lakh jobs (more than what has been promised by Congress and AAP) as well as increasing the free medical insurance benefit to Rs 10 lakh per family each year.

The BJP’s focus has been on the Hindutva plank too, promising a big revamp of Hindu religious places in the state. “We will build a Devbhumi Dwarka Corridor to establish it as western India’s biggest spiritual centre, comprising of the World’s tallest Shree Krishna statue, a 3D immersive Bhagwat Gita experience zone and a viewing gallery for the lost city of Dwarka. We will invest Rs 1,000 crore to renovate, expand and promote temples, following the successful transformation model of Somnath, Ambaji and Pavagadh," the BJP manifesto says.

There is a lot of focus on women voters too, who have backed the BJP in a big way earlier. The party says it will provide free-of-cost, quality education to all female students from KG to PG, start Sharda Mehta Yojana to provide free two-wheelers (electric scooters) to meritorious college-going female students from financially weak households, provide free bus travel to female senior citizens in the state and create more than 1 lakh government jobs for women in the next five years.

The focus is also on development projects by the BJP as the party in the past has won elections based on its pitch that Gujarat was put on the path to be the most developed state in the country under Narendra Modi as the CM. It has promised to make Gujarat a $1 trillion economy, invest Rs 25,000 crore to expand the existing irrigation network, Rs 500 crore for gaushalas, a tribal cultural circuit to connect Pal Dadhvaav and the Statue of Unity to Shabari Dham, attract Rs 5 lakh crore foreign investment and make Gujarat the Defence and Aviation Manufacturing Hub of India.

The BJP has also promised a first-of-its-kind Parikrama Path of 3,000 km encircling the whole state with 4-6 lane roads/highways by constructing a South Eastern Peripheral Highway and North Western Peripheral Highway, develop a Saurashtra Express Highway Grid to provide seamless connectivity between important economic hubs and national highways and said the new BJP government spend Rs 25,000 crore under the Gujarat Urban Development Mission to transform the urban landscape with a focus on decongesting the existing cities.

“We will ensure time-bound completion of Gandhinagar and Surat Metro, and kick-start work on Saurashtra (Rajkot) and Central Gujarat’s (Vadodara) first metro rail service," the BJP has said.

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About the Author

Aman SharmaAman Sharma, Senior Editor (Politics), at CNN-News18, and Bureau Chief at News18...Read More

first published: November 26, 2022, 13:34 IST
last updated: November 26, 2022, 13:34 IST