Farmers, jobs, ‘Priyanka Gandhi effect’ — how SP & BJP’s UP manifestos compare

On Tuesday, both the SP and the BJP released their manifestos. While the SP pledges 33 percent reservation for women in government positions, the BJP promises free public transportation for old ladies.
Lucknow: In the run-up to the “high-stakes” 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, both the BJP and the Samajwadi Party are courting farmers and women in election manifestos unveiled on the same day, Tuesday.

While the BJP has promised free electricity for irrigation to farmers (also included in the SP manifesto) and a price stability fund to determine the “minimum price” of crops such as potato, tomato, and onion, the SP has promised to calculate minimum support prices (MSP) for all crops using the Swaminathan committee formula of 2004 (cost of production + 50%), farmers’ markets, and a debt relief law that will include provisions for a kisan aayo.

The “Priyanka influence” is obvious in both the BJP and the SP manifestos, after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi unveiled a women-centric campaign for the party earlier this year.

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While the SP has offered women 33% reservation in government positions, the BJP has promised free public transportation for women over 60, as well as scooters for young women (also announced by Priyanka Gandhi in a tweet in October last year).
The effect of farmer agitation

The impact of the year-long farmers’ protest against the Modi government’s now-repealed three unpopular agriculture legislation is evident in both parties’ manifestos.

While several farmer leaders in western UP have already expressed support for the SP-RLD coalition, both the BJP and the SP are still trying to attract the state’s agricultural community.

MSP was mentioned in both manifestos, as one of the objectives of the agitating farmers was a legal guarantee for MSP. Both parties also promised farmers free energy for irrigation and a fortnightly payment of dues to sugarcane farmers. The BJP has also promised to give sugarcane farmers interest if they are not paid within 14 days.

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The BJP has also promised three new schemes for farmers, including the Rs 5,000 crore CM Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, which will help small and marginal farmers build borewells, tubewells, ponds, and tanks for irrigation, the Rs 25,000 crore Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel agri-infrastructure mission, which will build pruning and grading units, cold chain chambers, godowns, and processing centres, and the Rs 1,000 crore Bhamasha

Within hours of the BJP’s manifesto being released, the SP announced MSP calculations for all crops based on the Swaminathan formula, as well as other farmer assistance, including two bags of diammonium phosphate fertiliser and five sacks of urea for all farmers with less than two acres of land, and one “kisan bazaar (farmers’ market)” every 10 kilometres where “farmers can sell their produce directly to consumers.” The party has also stated that by 2025, every farmer will be debt-free.

While unveiling the manifesto, SP national president Akhilesh Yadav said, “Relatives of farmers who died during the kisan andolan will be awarded Rs 25 lakh (as compensation) and a kisan smarak (monument) will be constructed in their memory.”

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Attracting Female Voters

The Congress, which won only seven seats in the 2017 election and now has only three MLAs after a wave of defections, announced last year that female candidates will receive 40% of the votes throughout the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Attracting Female Voters
Attracting Female Voters

Priyanka Gandhi, the party’s leader, promised free electric scooters to all female graduates and a smartphone to every girl who passed Class 12 last year.

The BJP’s manifesto also promises free scooters to “deserving (female) students” under the existing Rani Lakshmibai Yojana, as well as free public transportation for women over 60, Rs 1,000 crore for public toilets for women, an increase in financial assistance to Rs 25,000 from Rs 15,000 for girl children in families earning less than Rs 3 lakh, and 3,000 “pink” police booths (for women and with women staff).

Meanwhile, the SP has guaranteed women 33 percent reservations in all government jobs, including the UP Police.

“Under the 1090 programme, the ability to file FIRs via email and WhatsApp would be provided, as well as crime tracking through the 1090 app,” stated Akhilesh Yadav. “Mahila ration cards for all BPL households within one year,” according to the party’s manifesto, as well as “restarting the Samajwadi Pension Yojana to provide Rs 18,000 to women from BPL families.”

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Unemployment And Education

The BJP has attempted to reach out to the state’s unemployed youth by promising employment or self-employment opportunities to every family and free coaching to those interested in appearing for the UPSC, UPPSC, NDA, CDS, JEE, NIIT, TET, CLAT, and other competitive exams, despite the opposition’s attacks.

Unemployment And Education
Unemployment And Education

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who released the BJP manifesto, announced an industrial training institute (ITI) in each block of Uttar Pradesh.

“We will ensure that each division has one university,” he said while announcing the opening of educational institutions across the state as part of the party’s manifesto in UP, including Maa Shakhumbhari Devi University in Saharanpur, Ayush Teaching Centre in Ayodhya, Maharaja Suheldev University in Azamgarh, Guru Gorakhnath Ayush University in Gorakhpur, and four other universities.

While releasing their electoral manifestos, the two parties also assailed one other. While Shah claimed that 92% of the promises made in the BJP’s 2017 manifesto had been fulfilled, Yadav mocked the party’s “sankalp patra (manifesto)” as “galp-patra (letter of imagination or stories).”

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