Kerala

Kerala Assembly Elections | NDA manifesto targets low-income families

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar releases the NDA election manifesto at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA manifesto released on Wednesday leaned heavily on populist measures targeted at low-income families. It reaffirmed the alliance’s core commitment to nationalistic politics.

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javedkar unveiled the declaration. The manifesto promised employment for at least one member in each family. An increased social welfare pension of ₹3,500 a month, free housing, piped drinking water and power for the poor are on the cards.

Five acres of land to deprived SC/ST families, free laptop for high school students, the promise of a hunger-free Kerala, six free cooking gas cylinders for BPL families, a monthly medical grant of ₹5,000 to in-patients from BPL households, travel concession for senior citizens and fair wages are the other highlights.

The BPL families would receive medical assistance up to ₹5 lakh under the Ayushman Bharath scheme. The NDA would open Jana Oushadhi centres in all panchayats. It also promised an AIIMS centre in Kerala and upgrading district hospitals and medical colleges in the State to speciality and super-speciality centres.

The NDA promised to be a bulwark against the global Islamist threat and terrorism. It pledged a State law against Love Jihad. It vowed to free temple administration from political control and hand the institutions over to collectives of devotees. The coalition promised to target terrorism, anti-national organisations and end political violence in Kerala for good.

The manifesto seemed to hark back to the principles of “integral humanism” propounded by the Hindu right-wing idealogue Deenadayal Upadhyaya. The manifesto promised to transform panchayats to gram swaraj moored to self-sufficiency in food production, housing, drinking water supply and hygiene. Namo food joints would serve breakfast (₹10), lunch (₹20) and dinner (₹10) in all panchayats.

The NDA vowed enhanced rural road, internet and power connectivity, electric crematoria and garbage disposal units in villages and rapid re-skilling of rural youth to meet the demand of the global economy.

A six-lane highway linking Kaliakkavial in the south to Manjeswaram in the north would open up the State’s hinterlands for development. Motels would dot the freeway.

New airports in Idukki, Wayanad and Sabarimala, development of minor ports, a new road parallel to the Thamarassery Ghat in Wayanad, trams for urban centres, development of water transport are other election pledges.

The NDA said it would revitalise the State’s agriculture sector and make KSRTC operations financially viable.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 7:53:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/nda-manifesto-targets-ordinary-folk/article34152979.ece

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