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Aggressive Hindutva missing

The BJP'S election manifesto released had more pro-poor promises and schemes to “put more money in people's hands” — than the Hindutva rhetoric — as the party wooed economically weaker masses and the middle-class. Shekhar Iyer reports. Graphics: Manifestos Compared

india Updated: Apr 05, 2009 02:50 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The BJP'S election manifesto released on Friday had more pro-poor promises and schemes to “put more money in people's hands” — than the Hindutva rhetoric — as the party wooed economically weaker masses and the middle-class.

Improving upon the Congress’ poll promise on inexpensive rations, the party vowed to provide 35 kg rice to poor families at Rs 2 per kg and wheat at Rs 3.5 per kg. The Congress had said it would provide 25 kg rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg.

The plans for the farming sector are a far cry from the days of the “India Shining” campaign. The party has promised to waive all farm loans and give new loans at 4 per cent. “Worker banks” for the unorganised sector and an insurance scheme to insure both price and produce for every farmer are also on the agenda. There is also the provision of pension for farmers.

The BJP has also promised that access to clean drinking will be made a fundamental right and extend the MP government's Ladli Lakshmi scheme across India. Under the scheme the government will directly transfer Rs 1.18 lakh to a savings account of every school-going girl.

Wooing middle-class, the BJP said income up to Rs 3 lakh would be exempted from tax and women and senior citizen get another Rs 50,000 tax-free.

The inclusion of Ram temple, Ram Sethu and protection of the cow under the party’s commitment to “cultural heritage” has kept the Sangh Parivar in good humour for now.