U.P. manifesto opposes UPA government's decision

Reiterating its opposition to the UPA government decision to provide a 4.5 per cent sub-quota to backward Muslims in the OBC reservation, the Bharatiya Janata Party has expressed its resolve to give Uttar Pradesh a corruption-free, clean and transparent administration based on the principle of good governance (sushasan), if it is voted to power in the State.

This is the underlying theme of the BJP manifesto, released by State unit chief Surya Pratap Shahi and Legislature Party leader Om Prakash Singh here on Friday.

Mr. Shahi told journalists that the party would ensure that there was no discrimination on religious grounds. Mr. Singh said the party, if voted to power, would not implement the 4.5 per cent quota for Muslims given on religious lines and would restore the 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs.

But a move which is likely to invite a strong reaction from the Bahujan Samaj Party is the BJP promise to remodel the parks and memorials built by the Mayawati government for the Dalit icons.

The BJP has declared that statues of Kabirdas, Sant Ravidas, Sant Tulsidas, Uda Devi Pasi, Bijli Pasi, Jhalkari Bai and Maharishi Valmiki would be installed in these parks.

Stating that government institutions and programmes were not the private property of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, the BJP has promised to rename the present schemes after luminaries belonging to all castes and classes.

Accusing the BSP government of misusing crores of public money and hundreds of acres of government land for building memorials and statues, the manifesto says eminent personalities of the State were ignored and insulted.

A Commission of Enquiry will be constituted to probe all corruption cases in the BSP government, and steps taken to strengthen the institution of Lokayukta. The Chief Minister will be brought within the purview of the ombudsman.

Passing reference to temple

The Ayodhya temple issue, which fetched the BJP votes in the earlier elections, found only a passing mention in the introduction to the 72-page manifesto: the “BJP is committed to removing the obstacles to the construction of the temple.”

However, in a bid to woo the upper castes, the party has promised to set up an ‘Upper Caste Commission' for the uplift and welfare of the poor among them. A similar commission exists in Bihar.

A Rs. 1,000-crore Kisan Kalyan Kosh will be set up for relief and rehabilitation of farmers hit by natural calamities, and there will be a separate budget for agriculture, besides 24- hour power supply to the farm sector and free irrigation facilities. Each BPL family will get a free milch animal.

Students passing the Class 12 examinations from government schools will each get a tablet at Rs. 1,000 and a laptop for Rs. 5,000. These gadgets will be given free to poor students. Free cycles will be given to girl students, and a 33 per cent quota allotted for women among educational workers.

In a bid to counter the UPA government's Food Security programme, the BJP has promised to give all APL and BPL families wheat at Rs. 2 and rice at Rs. 3 a kg. Senior citizens above 65 will be given free foodgrains. One crore new jobs would be created in five years.

The party has also promised to increase widow pension to Rs. 1,500 and old-age pension to Rs. 2,000 a month.