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Gujarat polls: Shiv Sena releases manifesto, projects itself as alternative to BJP

Party declares that Hindutva is nationalism, promises not to abandon the poor like BJP has done, and to change the face of rural Gujarat

mumbai Updated: Dec 04, 2017 15:06 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is contesting 65 seats in the Gujarat Assembly polls.(HT File)

The Shiv Sena released its election manifesto for the Gujarat Assembly polls on Sunday evening in Ahmedabad, highlighting its agenda, “Hindutva is nationalism” and criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat.

The Sena projected itself as an alternative to the BJP, with whom it shares power in Maharashtra and at the Centre.

Promising 24x7 electricity and water supply in each district, as well as better roads and employment, the Sena manifesto attacked the Gujarat government saying that it has done nothing for the poor as it has been busy helping select rich people. “The current government had promised to fulfil people’s basic needs, but their priorities have changed. It has abandoned the poor and is busy giving to a few rich ones,” the manifesto, which is printed in Gujarati, read.

The Sena is contesting 65 seats in the two-phase polls, scheduled for December 9 and December 14. With ties between the saffron parties having soured in the past few years, the Sena’s decision to contest these polls is being looked upon as a strategy to hurt the BJP’s chances. Having ruled the state for 22 years, the BJP is already dealing with anti-incumbency.

On Sunday, the Sena also attacked the BJP over the Centre’s Swachh Bharat programme. “The BJP has made Swachh Bharat Abhiyan its priority and has spent huge sums for its advertisements. However, the ground reality is different. Look at the state of the villages in the state. Instead, the government has levied cess for the cleanliness programme. The Shiv Sena is the only alternative to change this situation,” the party declared in its manifesto.

Apart from the Hindutva agenda, the Sena focused on rural Gujarat, alleging that the state government has failed to make villages self-sufficient, or provide proper amenities. The condition of hospitals in Gujarat is poor and they lack adequate staff, including doctors, the manifesto claimed. “Shiv Sena will change the face of rural Gujarat. It has always fulfilled its promise, and has always stood by the people,” it said.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 15:06 IST