With the stupendous victory of the BJP in the UP 2017 Assembly elections, garnering over 320 out of the 403 seats, the stage is well set for the party to deliver on its promises.
In keeping with the “Development” and “Governance” talk that the party leadership has been making, it is expected that the work they will do in UP will be similar in line with what the National leadership is doing at the Center.
The BJP, in the run-up to the elections, released a party manifesto with a list of promises on what it will implement if it comes to power. While in the past, the party has not strictly followed the commitments given in manifestos, the hope is that the situation will be different this time. This is because of the absolute majority it has, and no impediments whatsoever from alliance partners and the type.
Here is what I could find on the 6 main #core items.
#Core 1: Education
- Absolutely nothing. However, this is not surprising because there is not much that can be done on the #core1 front by a State government.
- The manifesto does not touch upon anything regarding implementation of RTE. In that sense, there is some relief.
#Core 2: Sectarian Purse
- The manifesto stands-out in this aspect. In multiple places it declares there shall not be any discrimination in spending of the purse on caste or religious basis.
- Free education for all girls up to graduation, irrespective of caste or religion
- Free education for all boys from 12th to graduation if they score > 50% irrespective of caste of religion
- Free books, uniforms for children if you are a BPL family
- The manifesto talks in detail about “Garib Kalyan Card”. It states explicitly that irrespective of caste or religion, anyone qualifying for this card will enjoy the benefits.
- This Garib Kalyan Card, it is promised, will provide critical access to hospitals and other critical health care resources *without discrimination*
- If implemented, this would be a major #core2 step, in my opinion.
- A few schemes for widows, anganwadi women workers also has been made caste-religion-neutral
#Core 3: Quotas
- Given that this is a state manifesto, there is not much scope to tinker around here. However, the lack of any major promise on this front is encouraging.
- The manifesto promises to increase *existing* scholarship amounts for SCs and STs. This touches both #core2 and #core3 in my opinion.
#Core 4: Temple
- The manifesto is non-committal about building the Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
- It says all possible legal methods will be attempted to build a temple
- The manifesto does not speak about the control aspect of Temples.
#Core 5: Essential Religious Practice
- A general comment says BJP will try everything to preserve our cultural heritage
- Three promising aspects exist on #core5
- The manifesto promises a lot of things with regard to preservation and promotion of Sanskrit. Establishment of a new Sanskrit University, improvement of salary for sanskrit teachers, a plan to encourage Sankrit Academy and appointment of Yoga teachers in schools under Sports Teachers category.
- Special impetus for preservation and promotion of Yoga, Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Allopathy.
- Development of Mathura, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Naimishaaranya, Chitrakoota as religious-cultural spaces
#Core 6: Cow Slaughter
- The manifesto does not touch this aspect at all!
- However, the document is in Hindi, and I am no expert in it. So I may have missed spotting a mention on this.
Overall, there is SOME promise of #core elements in the manifesto. We need to continue to track what the BJP does in this state, in the next 5 years, in the backdrop of the massive mandate it has received.