Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought to give his “guarantee” to assure voters in Rajasthan that none of the welfare schemes started by the incumbent Congress government would be stopped if the BJP comes to power.
The “guarantee” coming from Modi, who has often slammed Opposition governments for giving “revdis” (freebies), indicated the popularity of the schemes started by the Ashok Gehlot government and the BJP’s unwillingness to risk the fear among the voters of them being stopped.
“I assure you that the BJP will not stop any scheme involving public interest but will try to improve it. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he told a rally in Chittorgarh in the poll-bound state.
Earlier this year, chief minister Gehlot had started a host of “populist” welfare schemes and many believe they could be a game-changer in the polls. Rajasthan alternates between the Congress and the BJP but Gehlot hopes the schemes can help him break this tradition.
Some of the popular schemes are reinstating the old pension scheme for government servants, 100 units of free electricity, LPG cylinders at Rs 500 apiece and free smartphones for poor women. Rajasthan has also passed a law to guarantee the right to health to the people of the state.
Gehlot had recently expressed apprehension that the BJP could stop the schemes started by him. Referring to Gehlot’s fear, Modi on Monday said: “Gehlot knows that the countdown of the Congress government has started. He in a way has congratulated the BJP by publicly requesting that the schemes should not be stopped.”
Apart from seeking to woo the voters with populist schemes, Modi sought to lob polarising issues into the poll arena. He invoked the murder of a tailor in Udaipur last year and used it to accuse the Gehlot government of law-and-order failure and “appeasement politics”.
“What happened in Udaipur... had someone even imagined something like this could happen? People came to get clothes stitched, then slit the throat of the tailor and shared a video of the act,” Modi said.
Tailor Kanhaiya Lal was murdered at his shop for allegedly supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her comments against Prophet Mohammad.
In his speech, Modi
also sought to indicate that the BJP would not project any chief ministerial face in Rajasthan.
“The only face in this election will be the lotus. The only candidate will be the lotus,” he said, urging the voters to look only at the BJP’s election symbol and vote for the party without taking the candidates into consideration.
Modi inaugurated and laid the foundations of projects in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and addressed a rally in Gwalior.
He has been making the rounds of the states going to polls later this year and addressing rallies.