While Congress is yet to release its election manifesto and focussing its campaign around the 'seven guarantees' promised by the Ashok Gehlot government, its rival Bharatiya Janta Party on Thursday released its manifesto which promises to constitute a special cell to investigate ‘anti-Bharat’ sleeper cells across the state and a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate alleged scams under the current Congress government. The BJP's manifesto also has several parallel schemes already being promised by the Congress.
"A SIT will be set up to probe the alleged paper leak scam, fertiliser scam, mid-day meal scam and special cell will be established to prevent gang wars", said BJP president J P Nadda while releasing the manifesto 'Sankalp Patra' which promises to bring out a white paper on corruption against the Congress government.
Besides this, the 80-page manifesto also has a focus on several women-centric, farmer welfare and social welfare schemes.
On the lines of what the saffron party promised in the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, in Rajasthan too BJP manifesto says that LPG cylinders will be made at Rs 450, to deserving Ujjawala beneficiaries.
Congress in Rajasthan had already launched a scheme of giving subsidised gas cylinders for Rs 500 a few months ago and has promised to increase the number of beneficiaries to 1.05 crore families if it comes to power.
Focus on women and girl child
With a focus on women's issues and girl children, the BJP's manifesto also promises a constitution of anti-Romeo squads, 33% reservation for women in the police force, a women's police station in every district, free Scooty for meritorious Class 12 girls and Lado Protsahan Yojana, which shall provide a savings bond of Rs 2 lakh for a girl child. While releasing the manifesto BJP Chief JP Nadda said that the crimes against women are rising in Rajasthan and the party shall ensure to safeguard the “honour of women”. One of the seven guarantees Congress has announced includes an annual honorarium of Rs 10,000 to women heads of families.
If voted to power, the BJP has promised 2.5 lakh jobs in the next five years. Besides this the manifesto reads, " Rajasthan Institute of Medical Sciences and Rajasthan Institute of Technology on the lines of IIT in each division shall be set up in the state", reads the manifesto.
" The BJP manifesto banks on a philosophy that believes development and targetted welfare schemes will ensure a smooth ride. But, the big question is development itself remains uncertain due to many unknown reasons and job creation becomes an unfulfilled dream. In fact, quality job creation is the only game changer requiring attention", Dr Sanjay Sharma, senior journalist and political analyst" told Outlook.
Focus on education and health
To woo students and youth, the BJP promises free education from kindergarten to post-graduation for girls from economically weak backgrounds, with the transfer of Rs 1,200 as a Direct Benefit Transfer for their school bags, books and uniforms. The ruling Congress in one of its seven guarantee flagship schemes has already announced free laptops or tablets for first-year students of government colleges and free English medium school education.
Keeping farmer vote bank on mind, the manifesto states to ensure a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 2,700 per quintal for wheat and Kisan Saman Nidhi would be raised to Rs 12,000 per annum.
To change the 25-year-old trend in Rajasthan in which the government changes hands in every assembly election, the Congress party is banking on Gehlot’s governance record and the seven ‘guarantees’ that the party has announced, which address the concerns of retired government employees, farmers, as well as students.