A year-and-a-half is a long time in politics, especially to undergo a change of heart.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mahila Morcha that led vehement protests against the then Manmohan Singh government’s decision to reduce the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from 12 to six in a year is now launching a campaign to urge the people to surrender their subsidised LPG connections.
In the national executive meet of the BJP Mahila Morcha held in Bhopal on May 9 and 10, national BJP Mahila Morcha president Vijaya Rahatkar asked the mahila morcha to launch a campaign to convince households to surrender subsidised LPG connections.
Sources said the rationale behind the move was that women had a say in the finances of the home and it would be easier for the workers to convince them to surrender the LPG connections.
State BJP Mahila Morcha head Lata Wankhede said the campaign would be launched in all 756 party blocks across the state.
A target of 200 families per block has been fixed by the state mahila morcha for the same.
While convincing the households to surrender subsidised LPG connections, workers had been asked to tell the women that the amount saved would be diverted for rural development and hence they should join this ‘altruistic’ campaign.
The mahila morcha, however, seems to have forgotten that as recently as January 2014, it had spearheaded vehement protests against a UPA government decision to reduce the number of subsidised cylinders per connection to six from 12 in a year.
When asked about the change of heart, state president Lata Wankhede said: "The party is of the view that if one crore people who are financially well off surrender their connections, it would help cover needy families in rural areas instead, whose women are today cooking using other fuels that cause respiratory diseases."
A similar change of heart has also become apparent in the BJP-led state government’s approach towards the petrol and diesel price hike issue.
A staunch critic of the Manmohan Singh government’s decision to hike fuel prices, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had cycled all the way to his office with his cabinet to condemn the fuel price hike.
However, when the fuel prices fell in the international market and resulted in a reduction of diesel and petrol prices in late 2014, his government enhanced the valued added tax on fuel, resulting in an increase in prices.