Electricity to every village and farm within a year, free power connections for the rural poor and housing for all by 2022.
These and more were part of a vision document released on Thursday by the BJP that promised sweeping benefits to crucial vote blocs as it looks to upstage a grand alliance in the key assembly polls.
The saffron coalition focused on youth and women, promising free laptops to 50,000 meritorious students and free scooties to 5,000 meritorious girls as it sought to surpass chief minister Nitish Kumar’s seven-point agenda for development.
In addition, the document offers the setting up of a ‘credit guarantee fund’ to facilitate self-employment for Bihari youth.
It also offers free colour TVs for settlements of Dalits/Mahadalits, who constitute almost 13% of the population and will play a critical role in the poll outcome.
“Things like laptops have been done in other states earlier and there is no reason why these incentives cannot be offered in Bihar”, said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who released the 15-page document.
The state goes to the polls in five phases beginning October 12, where the BJP-led coalition is hoping to trump the grand alliance’s caste arithmetic with development rhetoric.
He said the document was a “charter of development” to release Bihar for the morass of backwardness that 68 years’ rule of the ‘grand alliance’ constituents – the Congress (43 years), Rashtriya Janata Dal (15) and Janata Dal (United) (10 years), had confined Bihar to.
He described the anti-BJP alliance as “opportunistic”, where each of its constituents lacking in political consistency.
The finance minister identified electricity and infrastructure development as the big focus areas of the vision document, which, he said, offered the promise of inclusive development against the ‘sectarian’ agenda of the grand alliance.
Jaitley also said reservation was a reality and the BJP was fully committed to it.
The vision document also promised facility for online registration of FIRs, separate farm budget, reservation in PACS elections, reserving allocation of government ponds for fishermen, a new anti-corruption agency, setting up an international education hub in Bihar, health cards for school kids, one stop rape-crisis centre and subsidised loans and power to weavers.