MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Welfare and temple: Why BJP has a headstart over Opposition parties

The most significant aspect of PM Modi's governance model is plugging leakages to ensure smooth delivery of benefits of the government schemes. There has never been a dearth of welfare schemes for the poor in this country. But they have been mired in corruption in the past

Arun Anand Published 24.04.24, 08:01 AM
Arun Anand

Arun Anand Sourced by the Telegraph

There are many key issues in the Lok Sabha elections 2024 but the most prominent one is the governance model created by the Narendra Modi government.

The most significant aspect of this governance model is plugging leakages to ensure smooth delivery of benefits of the government schemes. There has never been a dearth of welfare schemes for the poor in this country. But they have been mired in corruption in the past. The Modi government has effectively used technology to implement various schemes ensuring that the beneficiaries have Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). This has created a new constituency of Labharthee (beneficiaries of government schemes) which primarily votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This remains one of the biggest challenges for the Opposition. In some Opposition-ruled states, there have been attempts to woo the voters through freebies but that didn’t work well for them.

ADVERTISEMENT

This has also kicked off a debate about “freebies” offered to the voters by different political parties. This is an important debate and needs to be carried further. With a 1.4 billion-plus population — that is growing at a fast pace — how good is the idea to offer unemployment allowances and other freebies in the form of cash benefits for the voters? Is it really sustainable and how good is it for the economy in the long run? The challenge is to strike a balance between welfarism and populism. So far, the Opposition has not been able to do so. Hence the freebies offered in their party manifestos are facing severe criticism from several quarters.

Health is one of the key issues that has been neglected in the past by political parties. But with the Modi government launching a successful health insurance scheme benefiting millions of poor and promising to extend the scope of the scheme to Indians above 70 years of age, for once, there is a strong possibility of “health” getting its due place in the electoral agenda.

The Opposition has not been able to offer a befitting reply to this master stroke of the BJP. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP had started “Mohalla Clinics” with much fanfare but they haven’t been able to make much difference despite all the hype.

Another significant issue that is coming up in the political debates is that of Hinduphobia. The BJP has raked up this issue as some Opposition leaders who are part of the INDIA alliance made objectionable statements about “Sanatan Dharma”. The Congress party, which is the largest constituent of this Opposition alliance, is in a Catch-22 situation. On one hand, it has tried to demonstrate a “soft Hindutva” approach to placate a growing anti-Congress sentiment among Hindus, on the other hand, its leaders are happy to share the stage with those who are making anti-Sanatan Dharma or anti-Hindu remarks.

Most of the Opposition leaders and parties have inflicted a self-goal by not attending the consecration ceremony of Ram Lalla at his birthplace in Ayodhya on January 22. The BJP on the other hand is seen as a party which has fulfilled its commitment to get a Ram temple constructed at Ayodhya. More than 190 million people have contributed personally to the construction of the temple through individual donations. It is almost certain that most of them would vote for the BJP which gives it a huge head start.

The writer has authored two books on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is the founder-editor of the website RSSFACTS.org that tracks the RSS

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT