BJP promises sops for women in manifesto

BySobhapati Samom, Hindustan Times, Imphal
Feb 18, 2022 02:44 AM IST

BJP national president JP Nadda, along with Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and party’s state unit chief A Sharda Devi, released the manifesto which contains 20 promises.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday released its manifesto for the assembly elections in Manipur, promising two-wheelers to meritorious female college students, two cooking gas cylinders a year to all beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojana and increasing the monthly pension for senior citizens to 1,000. It, however, remained silent on the question of repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Bharatiya Janata Party national president during the release of the party's manifesto for the Manipur Assembly Election, in Imphal on Thursday. (ANI)
Bharatiya Janata Party national president during the release of the party's manifesto for the Manipur Assembly Election, in Imphal on Thursday. (ANI)

Polling for the 60-member Manipur legislative assembly will be held in two phases on February 28 and March 5, while the votes will be counted on March 10.

BJP national president JP Nadda, along with Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and party’s state unit chief A Sharda Devi, released the manifesto which contains 20 promises.

Nadda said under the leadership of CM Biren Singh, Manipur has headed towards development in the last five years. The state government has tackled the drugs menace and achieved stability and established rule of law, the BJP chief added.

“Free scooty will be given to all meritorious college-going girls to empower the women of the state,” Nadda said.

The BJP in its 30-page manifesto also promised 25,000 to girls from economically weaker sections (EWS) under the ‘Rani Gaidinliu Nupi Maheiroi Singi Scheme’ if voted back to power.

The party announced two free LPG cylinders per year to the beneficiaries of the PM Ujjwala scheme, and increasing the monthly pension for senior citizens from 200 to 1,000.

“Laptops will also be provided to all meritorious students who pass Class 12, as a gateway to higher education,” Nadda said.

“Scholarships will be given to children of marginal, small and landless farmers, pursuing technical education at the graduate and post-graduate level,” he added.

The financial assistance of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi will be increased for the farmers of Manipur from 6,000 to 8,000 per year, the party promised in its election manifesto.

“This manifesto is not just a piece of paper, but the commitment of BJP for Manipur in the next 5 years,” Nadda said, adding that due consultation from all 60 constituencies was done before drafting the manifesto. Nearly 120,000 aspirations from all sections of the society and communities were collected, the BJP chief said.

CM Singh said, “This manifesto is first of its kind in the state, considering its process (of making it). We’re focusing on peace and development.”

The manifesto, however, did not mention AFSPA.

The demand for the repeal of AFSPA, which gives excessive powers to search, arrest without warrant and also shoot to kill in some situations in ‘disturbed areas’, has remained the mainstay in the state and other northeastern states for over two decades.

Following killing of 16 civilians in Nagaland in December last year by security forces, the demand for the repeal of AFSPA has gained momentum and the Centre even set up a panel to look into withdrawal of the legislation from the neighbouring state.

Several of BJP’s ruling partners in northeast, such as the National Peoples’ Party, the Naga Peoples’ Front, and the Nationalist Democratic Political Party have demanded its repeal and have also raised the issue during the ongoing Manipur election campaigns. Manipur CM Biren Singh has in the past also said the Act needs to be repealed.

“Insurgency and AFSPA had always been important issues. However, in recent times we had been able to bring insurgency activities to a bare minimum which ushering in a state of peace and normalcy in the state. People are beginning to feel the change and we are happy that we had been able to achieve this in such a short time,” the CM told HT in an interview last month.

In its manifesto, the BJP also announced setting up Manipur Skill Development University to train youths for making them job-ready, and an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to ensure that people do not have to travel out of the state for medical treatment.

A 100 crore ‘Start-Up Manipur Fund’ will be set to give zero-interest loans of up to 25 lakh to entrepreneurs, the manifesto said.

The Loktak Mega Eco-Tourism project will become a reality, and cash incentives and subsidies will be given for setting up homestay facilities, to promote tourism in the Northeastern state, it added.

“FO-FO Train” (Follow Foothills Train) — a peripheral rail network along the foothills of the state — will be developed to boost tourism and increase allied vocational opportunities, the BJP said.

(With inputs from Utpal Parashar in Guwahati)

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