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BJP promises temple, cows; Cong jobs, quota

The BJP today revived the Ayodhya issue promising to build a Ram temple but the Congress came out with plans to create 20 lakh jobs for youth in their manifestos for the assembly polls in UP where both the parties are trailing major players BSP and SP. Complete coverage: Battle for the states

india Updated: Jan 28, 2012 00:56 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

The Bharatiya Janata Party — fighting to regain lost ground in Uttar Pradesh — reposed faith in the Ram temple at Ayodhya issue, reviving it in the party's election manifesto released Friday.

The return of the BJP's oft-used poll plank, which had fuelled its rise in national politics in the 80s and early 90s, coincides with the second innings of Hindutva proponent Uma Bharti in the party.

The BJP 2012 UP manifesto also promises to do away with the 4.5% sub quota for minorities within the 27% reservation for OBCs approved by the union cabinet, while taking concrete steps for progress of Muslims.

Within hours of attending the manifesto release in Lucknow, Bharti said at an election rally in Ayodhya assembly segment she was ever desirous to see a grand Ram temple. The reappearance of the temple issue, however, did not create any flutter in temple town Ayodhya in Faizabad district.

Mahant Bhaskar Das, 83, and Hashim Ansari, 92 — the only two living original litigants in the dispute over the site — laughed at the temple promise. Das said, "What's new. They 'build' one every election, and forget it post-election."

Ansari said, “The election commission must ban such promises."

The manifesto also promises one milch cow each to all below poverty line families. The other pre-poll sops include free cycles for girls, free computers and tablets to poor students and subsidised ones to others and sops for farmers.

A Sawarn Ayog (commission for forward castes) to look into the economic status of the poor among the 50% unreserved population is also in the manifesto.

Better governance, unemployment allowance, one crore jobs in five years, improved health services and women's empowerment are among the promises.

Cong focus on SCs-STs,minorities, weavers
The Congress on Friday promised to create 20 lakh jobs, provide sub-quota for most backward classes and eliminate corruption in Uttar Pradesh, besides revamping education, employment and the state economy.

The 'Vision for 2020', released here by Union minister and chairman of the election manifesto committee Salman Khurshid and state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi also has in store a Rs 3,000-crore package for handloom weavers.

"There is a need to rationalise the present quota system," said Khurshid. The Congress would also explore the possibility of bringing a sub-quota for the "ati-dalit" (most dalits), he added. The party also plans to conduct fresh census of people living below poverty line.

Referring to freebies announced by the Samajwadi Party and BJP in their manifestoes, Khurshid said, "The parties which are not coming to power could make such promises".

On corruption, he said, "We are planning to put in place a citizen's charter, whereby a time frame will be prescribed for delivery of all public services."

Against the backdrop of the controversial acquisition of farmers' land in Noida by the BSP government, the Congress promised a new pro-poor -landless and -farmer law, while providing adequate land for industrialisation and urbanisation. Khurshid said, "A Congress government in the state will ensure that land is acquired with the consent of owners and those affected get livelihood security."

The document also mentions revamping of state watchdog Lokayukta, to make it more independent and effective, and bringing the chief minister under the Lokayukta's purview.

Seeking to impress upon all that the party was set to come to power in the state where it last ruled about 23 years ago, Khurshid said, "We will create 20 lakh new jobs over five years to tackle distress migration." Asked how, he shot back, "We are not talking off our hat. We propose to set up 1,000 skill development centres, besides revamping the polytechnics and ITIs."

The 22-page vision document, in Hindi, Urdu and English, was released simultaneously at 10 places in the state. The party would release its election manifesto on January 30.

First Published: Jan 27, 2012 18:29 IST