BJP on Sunday promised a slew of populist schemes in its manifesto for Punjab Assembly polls like providing sugar and ghee at low prices, houses to the poor, land to Dalits and backwards, besides assuring Rs five lakh assistance to the families affected by militancy. Union Minister Arun Jaitley while releasing the document in Jalandhar said BJP’s manifesto is particularly aimed at improving the social infrastructure in Punjab, even as he slammed Congress for its policies which he alleged paved way for militancy in Punjab in 1980s and termed its 2002-2007 tenure in power as “most dishonest and corrupt”.
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Noting that the SAD-BJP government in Punjab is already running atta-dal scheme, BJP manifesto has promised providing 2 kg ghee for Rs 25 per kilo and 5 kg sugar at Rs 10 a kilo to the blue card holders in the state. In its 16-page manifesto, BJP has assured a house to every poor family besides promising a 5-8 marla plot of land to Dalits and those belonging to backward class. The SAD ally has also promised a job to at least one member from each family.
BJP manifesto has also announced Rs five lakh in financial assistance to the families which were affected by militancy in Punjab. It also talks of setting up of a ‘Farmers Income Commission’ which will provide an assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the families of traders or farmers in the event of their sudden death.
On the education front, the manifesto assures making free the studies of girls till PhD level. It also talks of implementing the seventh pay commission, raising to 60 years the age of retirement, setting up of five PGIs, group housing for journalists, among others. “The state government, with the help of the Centre, has made adequate investments in the physical infrastructure in Punjab, but investing in the social infrastructure is the need of the hour, something which the BJP manifesto has focused on,” he said.
He said the Centre has taken steps to alleviate poverty which include demonetisation, digitisation and JAM (mobile and Aadhaar-based Jan Dhan bank accounts) and these measures will have mid-term and long-term benefits. “With these measures, the leakages in the pro-poor facilities will be removed,” he claimed.
Jaitley, earlier in the day, blamed previous Congress governments for its polices which he, without taking the party’s name, said led to militancy in 1980s in Punjab and took the state back in time.