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BJP releases manifesto on eve of first phase of voting in Gujarat elections

BJP’s release of its election manifesto comes a day after Congress vice president criticised the ruling party of disrespecting the people of Gujarat’.

assembly elections Updated: Dec 08, 2017 21:22 IST
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gujarat elections,Gujarat voting,BJP manifesto
Finance minister Arun Jaitley releases BJP’s manifesto for Gujarat elections on Friday. (ANI)

The BJP on Friday pledged to build a ‘New Gujarat’ in a vision document released barely 12 hours before the first phase of polling on Saturday, vowing to free the state of poverty and communal and caste divide.

The party’s plans for the state was on the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘New India’, said Union finance minister Arun Jaitley while releasing the document in Ahmedabad.

“Among larger states, Gujarat is the only state to maintain double-digit growth. The BJP’s vision for the state is to maintain the same,” Jaitley said.

The document was released a day after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took a dig in a tweet, saying, “The BJP has shown unbelievable disrespect towards the people of Gujarat. Campaign is over and still no mention of a manifesto for the people, no vision and no ideas presented for Gujarat’s future”.

The Congress released its manifesto on December 4, promising special reservation to economically backward non-reserved classes, a demand of the influential Patidars community.

For the first time in nearly three decades, the ruling BJP is unsure about total support of this community that can influence results of over 60 of total 182 seats. The Patidars have been agitating for the past two years demanding OBC reservation benefits in government jobs and colleges.

“The BJP has ruled the state for 22-years and it aims to further strengthen services and resources in all the sectors including education, healthcare, job creation, industries, support to senior citizens and other sections of society,” said BJP state president Jitu Vaghani.

In 2012, the BJP had promised to build 50 lakh affordable houses in five years.

Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, while releasing manifesto earlier in the week had claimed, “Only 4.7 lakh of the promised 50 lakh houses have been built in five years.”

The BJP document said the party will increase pension amount for senior citizens and widows, allot interest-free farm loans, water supply to every farm, strict implementation of recently made laws including cow protection, stricter prohibition rules and fee regulation for private schools, overall development of villages and timely implementation of smart city projects in urban areas.

For economically backward classes, the party promised to continue scholarships and committed to new jobs creation.

“The Congress promise of reservation is constitutionally not viable...Other promises are not financially not viable,” Jaitley said in reference to the opposition party’s promise to waive off farm loan, reduce fuel and electricity tariffs.

The second phase of polling will be held on December 14 and results will be declared on December 18.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 18:25 IST