Saturday, 28 January 2017

UP elections 2017: Amit Shah releases BJP manifesto, promises Ram temple, free internet data

The BJP will work to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya by finding a quick solution through legal means if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh, party president Amit Shah said on Saturday.

Releasing the party’s manifesto for the seven-phase assembly elections in UP, he addressed an emotive issue for the BJP’s predominantly Hindu electorate.

“The BJP is in favour of early construction of the Ram temple within the constitutional framework,” he said.

The controversy has been raging for decades since the demolition of the Ayodhya’s Babri mosque in December 1992. A range of Hindu organisations are seeking to build a Ram temple at the site, a case that is being heard by the Supreme Court.

“Temple and development aren’t contradictory,” Shah said.

The BJP, which is canvassing votes on a development agenda, promised to waive off loans of small and marginal farmers, distribute laptops to the youth, and offer free education up to class 12 for girls.

“Temple and development aren’t contradictory
The party pledged a fund of Rs 150 crore for agricultural development in the next five years, including a Rs 20,000-crore irrigation scheme that will put special focus on Bundelkhand, one of the poorest regions in the state that has been hit by back-to-back droughts.

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“Will distribute laptops to youth with 1GB free Internet if voted to power in UP,” Shah said.

The BJP chief said 7 million jobs and self-employment opportunities would be created if the party forms the government.

Shah also raised the issue of alleged “palayan” or exodus of Hindus in some Muslim-majority towns of western UP, especially Kairana.

Top BJP leaders had ratcheted up the alleged Hindu migration from Kairana to attack the Samajwadi Party government in the state ahead of the assembly elections.

Shah said a BJP government in the state would hold district magistrates responsible for people fleeing their homes for fear of religious persecution.

The party chief appealed to the people to give his party a chance to work for the all-round development of UP, saying a BJP government will lift the state from its “bimaru” status, a euphemism for underdeveloped states.

“I appeal to the people to give us one opportunity and we promise to turn UP into a developed state,” Shah said.

The party promised in its manifesto that 10 new international-standard universities will be set up in the state, including one exclusive institute for higher studies on Sanskrit and the ancient Vedic systems.

Trying to catch the poor voter’s attention, the party promised a Rs 2 lakh insurance for each worker in the unorganised sector, free LPG cylinders to everyone below a minimum income cap, and piped cooking gas for urban UP.

The BJP promised 24-hour power supply across the state, with the poor paying just Rs 3 a unit if the metre reading doesn’t exceed 300 units.

Pushing the government’s commitment for women and the girl child, the BJP promised Rs 5,000 to each newborn daughter born to a poor family.

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It will also launch a special drive to know Muslim women’s opinion on triple talaq. A debate rages in the country over abolition of the Islamic practice of a man divorcing his wife simply by uttering the word talaq thrice.

The party chief is credited for the BJP’s impressive show in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it won 71 of the 80 parliamentary seats in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah are spearheading the BJP’s campaign to regain power in UP, a politically crucial state from where it has been out of power since 2002.

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