January 29, 2017 5:59:36 pm
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s party manifesto released for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections is heavily tinged with communal tones. While the documents speaks extensively about certain issues, it gives a miss to some issues which in the past have been vocally advocated or criticised by BJP leaders, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Firstly, there is a lot of focus on the alleged exodus of Hindu families from western Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana due to communal tension. The manifesto promises to set up a department led by the deputy collector in every district to ensure this doesn’t recur, especially in western UP. Secondly, a clear stand has been taken on the Ram Mandir issue, which is not entirely unexpected. While the issue used to be the party’s top agenda, it found only a half-hearted mention in BJP’s manifesto released for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The issue of exodus has been raised as a superficial law and order issue, claiming that police stations in the state do not register complaints and FIRs in the state and such areas, which results in migration of families. Criticising the state’s law and order situation, the document holds it responsible for the alleged exodus.
However, a strong message that all legal ways will be explored to resolve the Ram Mandir issue and to ensure its construction has been sent out. This comes out as a strong attempt to consolidate the Hindu vote but it also reflects the party’s equally shrewd move to keep hold of some of the Muslim vote bank.
At the same time, the election manifesto is silent on justice for several thousand victims of Muzaffarnagar riots who have been moved from now-disbanded relief camps to settlement colonies.
But choosing to tread a middle path, the party, in its manifesto, promises to take up the issue of triple talaq though the matter is in a legal logjam and no state-level solution is possible, either in the legislature or in the judiciary.
The BJP has also not hesitated in using politics of freebies it so staunchly criticised as followed by AIADMK, SP, BSP and such parties. Free laptops and free internet, free insurance for government employees, free vikas bonds, 90 per cent reservation in all industries for youths, scholarship of ₹500 crore under the name of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, free assured electricity and LPG connections consist of all the freebies the party announced in its manifesto document.
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