The BJP finally came out with its vision document for Delhi on Tuesday with the focus on development and women security but chose to skip the issue of statehood, a promise made during the 2013 elections.
With pre-poll surveys giving the Aam Aadmi Party an edge over it, the BJP has tried to counter the two-year-old outfit in the 270-point document, which takes the place of an election manifesto, released by its chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi.
“We will make Delhi a world-class city. We will ensure development of all sections. Women security will be a priority area for us,” Bedi said.
“It is a comprehensive document drafted by senior BJP leaders. Our main focus would be on women’s safety, youth affairs, electricity and water. For us all of these issues are equally important."
The party has offered amnesty to defaulters, who “will be encouraged to avail 50% discount on a one-time payment of electricity bills” pending for more than a year.
The waiver was a strategic decision, sources said. Most of the defaulters didn’t pay bills as the AAP promised them a waiver in 2013. But no money was set aside for it in the budget and the dues mounted.
Power and water are an emotive issue in the Capital, with consumers complaining of being overcharged for poor services.
Unlike the 2013 elections when the BJP promised a 30% cut in tariff, the vision document talks of lowering power rates by increasing competition among distribution firms and scrutiny of their books by the national auditor. The AAP has promised to half the power bills.
Poor sections will get subsidised power as well as homes under the Jahan Jhuggi Wahi Makan (Houses in place of shanties).
Bedi’s stamp is visible in the section on women safety and community policing, which says a dedicated women force would be deployed at public places. The AAP has made women security a poll issue, accusing the Modi government of failing to check crime against them.
To young voters, who are gravitating towards the AAP, the party has promised 85% reservation in Delhi University to students passing out from city schools or a 4% reduction in cut-off marks. The AAP has said it will build 20 new colleges in the city, where admissions are fiercely fought.
The lower middle-class has been promised 100,000 houses. A helpline is to be set up to report corruption by officials, the document says. The Kejriwal government had a dedicated line that allowed public to report corrupt officials.
The BJP also plans to make children more responsive by “teaching” patriotism in schools. Redevelopment and beautification of the Jhandewalan temple complex is also on the agenda. The office of the RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, is in the complex.
On the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat radio talk, party’s elected leaders will share their views once every month on Dil ki Baat. Like the AAP, the BJP, too, has promised permanent positions to junior government staff employed on contract.
After a year of President’s rule, the city will vote on February 7 and result declared three days later.
The vision document, the BJP's version of the good old poll manifesto, listed a number of the promises that its arch-rival AAP had failed to deliver on during the latter’s 49-day government in Delhi.
Ahead of the 2013 assembly elections, AAP had promised to regularise all the contractual workers in Delhi government. But it failed to do so, leading to several protests outside the Delhi Secretariat— the seat of the government.
Under the good governance head, the BJP has promised to that efforts would be made to protect the interests of contractual workers in different departments such as Anganwadi, Asha, DTC and others. “Interests of daily wage workers will be protected,” says the vision document.
Auto-rickshaw drivers, some of the most loyal AAP supporters, have been promised ‘quick resolution’ of all grievances and easy loans.
A helpline to report scam and video recording of tender documents has also been promised as part of party’s plans to counter corruption.