Releasing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto for Chhattisgarh Assembly polls on Friday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that if the BJP formed the next government, it would take the State’s poor to Ayodhya for pilgrimage, even as the party has bettered some of the ruling Congress’ economic promises, including the ones on the crucial paddy procurement issue.
Describing Chhattisgarh as “lord Ram’s maternal home”, Mr. Shah said the party would introduce the Ram Lalla Darshan Yojana if voted in, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to inaugurate the Ram Temple in the Uttar Pradesh town on January 22 next year, and the State’s residents would have to go to congratulate their nephew returning to “his own home”.
In the manifesto, launched four days before the first phase of polling, the party has offered a slew of direct benefits, including paddy procurement at ₹3,100 per quintal and cooking gas cylinder at ₹500 to poor families, besides financial assistance to married women and landless agricultural labourers. However, it has not made any promise on farm loan waiver announced by the Congress recently and also leaves out the issue of liquor prohibition that the BJP has been vocal about in its campaign.
For farmers, Mr. Shah said, the party will bring ‘Krishi Unnati Scheme’ under which 21 quintal per acre paddy will be procured from them at ₹3,100 per quintal. The payment against paddy procurement will be done in one time,” he added and said that enough bardanas or bags would be arranged in a timely manner for proper procurement and transport.
Farmers are a key constituency in the entire State, particularly the Mahanadi basin areas of the Central plains. The announcements seeks to wrest the advantage directly with the promise of procurement of 20 quintal per acre and ₹3,000 per quintal made by the Congress, having given ₹2,640 per quintal during its ongoing tenure.
The Home Minister said that the BJP government if formed will buy tendu leaves, a minor forest produce a large part of the population of the State is dependent on, at the rate of ₹5,500 per standard bag and will offer bonus up to ₹4,500.
Mr. Shah further said under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, funds will be sanctioned for the construction of 18 lakh houses (the Congress has promised 10 lakh houses for rural poor), while every house will have tap water connection within two years under the ‘Ghar Ghar Nirmal Jal Abhiyan’.
“We will also launch ‘Mahtari Vandan Scheme’, under which married women will be given a financial assistance of ₹12,000 per year,” Mr. Shah said, adding that a Deendayal Upadhyay Krishi Majdoor Yojana will be launched, under which landless agricultural labourers will be given ₹10,000 every year.
Other promises include treatment up to ₹10 lakh under Ayushman Bharat scheme, 500 new Jan Aushadhi centres will open, CGPSC exam will be on the lines of UPSC and investigation into alleged scams around PSC recruitments. The BJP manifesto also talks of developing a religious tourism circuit around the five Shakti Peeths in Chhattisgarh on the lines of Char Dham Yatra and opening CIIMS on and CITs [Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences and Chhattisgarh Institutes of Technology] on the lines of AIIMSs and IITs.