The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised Friday that if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh it would remodel the multi-billion rupee monuments and parks erected by Chief Minister Mayawati and oppose the UPA government’s move for 4.5 percent quota for backward minorities. The party also made a passing reference to its all-time favourite theme of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
Flaying Mayawati for devoting various memorials only to a “particular set of personages”, the BJP manifesto released here Friday made it loud and clear that if the party were to get voted to power, it would remodel the memorials and add statues of several other great people. The 72-page document was released among others by state BJP president Surya Pratap Shahi, Uma Bharti, Kalraj Mishra and others at the party state headquarters here.
“While we too hold Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar in very high esteem and regard him as one of our icons, we surely have reason to regret that Mayawati has systematically ignored a number of other great people including social reformers like Sant Kabir and Sant Ravidas whose statues have not found place in any of the parks created at the cost of the state exchequer,” the manifesto points out.
The construction of the much-debated Ram temple in Ayodhya, however figures only in a passing reference as just any other issue.
While terming Mayawati’s fad for statues and memorials in the name of her party icons as “no different from the Congress party’s obsession for naming anything and everything after some of its leaders”, the manifesto makes it loud and clear, “we will add statues of other great leaders and social reformers in the parks and memorials built at a cost of thousands of crores.”
It goes on to add, “after all these memorials and parks have been built with the tax-payer’s money and were not private property of any political party.”
The party has also decided to oppose tooth and nail the UPA government’s move to provide 4.5 per cent reservation to backward minorities (largely Muslims). Unmindful of the UPA government’s repeated assertion that the announced reservation was simply carved out of the 27 percent reservation for OBCs under the Mandal Commission recommendations, the BJP manifesto seeks to declare, “we are against any reservation on religious lines.”
At the same time, the party has sought to clarify that it did not believe in religious discrimination. “We promise to look after the welfare of the minorities without following any policy of appeasement,” it said, adding, ‘we would like to modernise madrasa education and bring madrasa education to the mainstream of education and also take effective steps to ensure that religious minorities become a part and parcel of the national mainstream.”
It further adds, “we would evolve a comprehensive law for management of waqf properties so that these could be freed from the clutches of land mafia and criminals.”
The thick manifesto booklet catries portraits of 19 BJP leaders – starting with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and ending with Varun Gandhi – each of whom were relevant to the politics of Uttar Pradesh. While Vajpayee figured on the cover of the booklet , party president Nitin Gadkari appears prominently on the inside cover.
In an obvious bid to impress its Hindutva lobby, the party has promised one cow free to every family living below the poverty line and a complete ban on cow slaughter.
BJP has promised to create one crore jobs in five years, besides loan of upto Rs.1 lakh on easy interest rate under Yuva Berozgar Credit Card. The party also has an offer of unemployment allowance of Rs.2,000 per month to every educated unemployed youth.
Taking a cue from Samajwadi Party’s offer of a laptop to students, BJP too has announced a tablet palmtop for Rs.1,000 to secondary and intermediate students and a subsidised laptop for Rs.5,000 to intermediate students.
“Poor students will however be entitled to receive free tablets and laptops while girl students will also get free bicycles ,” the manifesto adds.
BJP has declared that it would do every bit to strengthen the institution of state Lokayukta by bringing under its purview the chief minister too. “The recommendation of the Lok Ayukta would be made binding on the government,” it adds.
Expressing deep concern over the unabated infiltration by terrorist groups, the manifesto assured “strong and effective measures to check activities of ISI, Huji and SIMI.” It goes on to add, “unlike SP and BSP regimes there will be no interference in the working of police and security forces, with a view to ensuring overall qualitative improvement in the state’s law and order.”