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UP: Communal agenda falling apart, BJP 'forced to offer' issues raised by Opposition

By Sandeep Pandey* 

In the middle of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections the Bhartiya Janta Party published a full front page advertisement a day before and on the day of polling for fourth and fifth phase. This advertisement is basically electoral promises.
According to Section 126 of the Representation of Peoples Act all campaigning must stop 48 hours before the conclusion of polling. BJP considers itself above any rule, law or Constitution and is openly flouting the RPA while the Election Commission of India is ignoring this. This is a technical issue.
However, a more interesting aspect of this advertisement is it appears to be issued by a political party which is seeking power whereas in Lucknow as well as Delhi there are BJP led governments, which have been much touted as double engine government.
This advertisement promises farmers free electricity, payment of sugarcane dues within 14 days and with interest if there is a delay and a stronger system of procurement on Minimum Support Price for wheat and paddy. What prevented the BJP from making electricity free for farmers during the just concluded tenure of its government?
Uptill now Yogi Adityanath was claiming that all sugarcane dues have been cleared but the leaders of farmers’ movement were repeatedly saying that dues were pending for last 2 years. If BJP’s intention was honest, then leave aside the interest, they should have at least cleared the pending dues. The farmers movement is demanding MSP as a legal right. BJP is silent on that. This reflects the anti-farmer mindset of BJP.
Meritorious girl students are being offered free scooty. But this is copying the Congress Party’s promise. What about the general girls? Every student cannot be meritorious. Women above 60 years of age are being promised free bus ride. But Arvind Kejriwal already implemented this for all females in Delhi in 2019 itself. Why did it take BJP so long to arrive at this decision and that too only for senior women citizens?
Two crore youth are being promised free tablet/smartphones. Before the declaration of elections the BJP government gathered students in a big stadium and distributed free tablets/smartphones. If the BJP intended to give it all students why did they not do this before the elections?
BJP governments are in the habit of spending huge sums of money on publicity. Had they not splurged money to make an ostentatious event out of it, they could have used the same money to distribute tablets/smartphones to more number of students.
BJP is promising to fill all vacant government posts, double the number of women government employees and offer employment/self-employment to one member of each family. Before the declarations of elections a woman Shikha Pal, B.Ed., was on top of an overhead water tank for more than a hundred and fifty days demanding filling up of over twenty thousand vacant teacher positions in government schools but nobody cared to listen to her.
Ambulance drivers who were compared with God during Covid pandemic and flower petals were showered upon them from helicopters were laid off by the company which was outsourced the job to run the service. They were negotiating with the government through the labour union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh associated with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh but to no avail. Why is now the same BJP promising jobs?
People are now wary of the term self-employment. Lot of people suspect such pompous phrases are euphemism for leaving people to fend for themselves. Now probably only begging is left to be described as self-employment.
Every homeless poor has been promised a brick-cement house and residential plot, poor have been promised cooked food at minimum cost from Annapurna canteens and poor daughters are being promised Rs 1 lakh in mass wedding ceremonies. Could these promises have not been fulfilled in the last five years?
Four years before Adityanath became CM of UP, Jayalalitha had started Amma kitchens in Tamil Nadu which offered Idlis for Re. 1 and Rice-Sambhar for Rs. 5. The BJP government ran a high profile advertisement campaign on its housing scheme in UP but now it is conceding that a number of deserving candidates are yet to be benefitted. Promise of Re. 1 lakh for wedding to poor girls is an outright allurement.
Labourers and 1 crore women of the Self Help Groups are being promised a credit of Re. 1 lakh at minimum interest rate. What prevented BJP from doing it till now
There are no signs of Yogi Adityanath’s campaign in Gorakhpur and mysteriously his picture has disappeared from the publicity boards
It is noteworthy that the BJP government is not listing in this advertisement its achievements during the last five years on the publicity of which it has spent exhorbitant sums of money during the last year nor has it mentioned any religious issues, like the Ram temple. It has not mentioned improved law and order situation or making the state free of criminals and mafia, which has been its recurrent theme.
Narendra Modi had to say in his speech in Unnao during the fourth phase that BJP, if voted to power again, will buy cow dung so that farmer has an incentive to keep the stray cattle. But Chhattisgarh government is already doing this. So far the people who declared cow as their mother are now exploring possibilities of earning from her.
Yogi Adityanath also declared that his government will provide Rs 900 per cattle for its upkeep. Till now his priority was protection of cow. For the first time he has said that protecting the farmers crop is also important. It has taken him five years to understand that if farmer’s crop is not protected how will he survive and how will he feed the cattle?
It means that BJP has now understood that its communal agenda is not working and it has been forced to talk about issues raised by opposition parties. It is an achievement of opposition parties, who were till now trying to catch up with the BJP, that now BJP is reckoning their issues. BJP’s confidence has been shaken and it can merely watch the UP election slipping out of its hand.
There are no signs of Yogi Adityanath’s campaign in Gorakhpur and mysteriously his picture has disappeared from the publicity boards of BJP there which now display only Narendra Modi’s photo. There is something amiss. These are ominous signs for BJP.
---
Magsaysay award winner social activist and academic, general Secretary of the Socialist Party (India)

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