Senior BJP leaders launch the party’s poll manifesto in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee
Bhubaneswar, April 3: The BJP state unit today joined the BJD chorus for the special category status for Odisha.
“If we come to power, we will exert pressure on the Centre to fulfil the legitimate demand of the state,” said BJP manifesto committee chairman Biswa Bhushan Harichandan.
The party’s Odisha-in-charge Arun Singh and national secretary Dharmendra Pradhan released the 20-page manifesto, just a day ahead of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s visit to the state. Like the BJD’s poll document, the BJP’s manifesto, too, made several promises to woo the electorate from various stratas of the society.
The demand for special category status has been the central theme of the BJD’s campaign against the Congress-led government at the Centre. It had organised a series of activities in support of its demand and made it the core campaign point.
The BJP, in its manifesto, targeted the BJD on the issue of its failure to curb fraudulent activities of deposit collection companies. “We will initiate all steps to return money to the poor investors, who have been cheated by these sham companies,” said Harichandan.
The companies have cheated nearly 20 lakh investors to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore and both the BJP and the Congress have targeted the state government for its alleged complicity as well as failure to protect the interest of people.
The manifesto has listed 45 welfare schemes and spoken about the mining scam. It has made it clear that the party would take appropriate steps to streamline the mining operation.
“The laws related to ore extraction and operation will be changed. The government agencies will be given first priority on allotments and no extraction will be done against the wishes of local people,” states the manifesto.
It promises sops for all sections of the society. It assured the voters to give a monthly allowance to unemployed youths. If voted to power, the BJP government will give monthly allowance of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to the unemployed unskilled and skilled youths, respectively. The old age pension will be doubled. It also promised to increase the entry age for government jobs from 35 to 40 years.
Worried over the dwindling sex ratio in the state, the party said it would introduce a Kanyaratna programme for the welfare and development of the girl child and address gender discrimination issues. The sex ratio in the state is 978 for each 1,000 male.
In its bid to strike an emotion chord, the BJD has promised to set up an Odia University. It has promised to initiate steps for farmers’ welfare. It promises to provide free power to farmers for irrigation.
Taking a cue from the BJD’s promise to provide irrigation to the 35 per cent of cultivable land, the BJP promises to double the coverage of irrigation in the state.
It will set up a Krushak Haat in every panchayat for farmers to sell their produce and provide soft loans to them at a lower interest.