NEW DELHI: Reservation for women in government jobs, citizenships to those living as refugees for decades and big investments in health and infrastructure were the highlights of BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Bengal assembly elections.
Union home minister Amit Shah released the manifesto titled ‘Sankalp Patra for a Sonar Bangla’ at an event in Kolkata on Sunday evening.
The document promised that 33% of all govt jobs will be reserved for women.
“We will start Common Eligibility Test for all state government jobs to keep a check on corruption. We will constitute the following separate Task Forces to curb the problem of arms racketeering, unchecked narcotics trade, land grabbing, fake currency circulation and cattle smuggling,” Shah said.
The BJP also promised one job per family, implementation of 7th pay commission for state government employees and PM-Kisan arrear of Rs 18,000 for 75 lakh farmers if elected to power in the state.
In other big-ticket announcements for women, the manifesto promised free travel on public transport and raising 12 new women police battalions in the state.
Speaking on investment in health sector, Amit Shah said three new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) will come up, in North Bengal, Jangalmahal and Sunderbans.
“We have decided that no infiltrators to be allowed in Bengal and border fencing will be strengthened. We have decided to provide free education to women from KG to PG,” he added.
“We will establish a Sonar Bangla fund worth Rs 11,000 crores which will promote art, literature and other such sectors.”
“We will constitute an SIT to investigate cases of political killings & take strict action against those responsible. We’ll provide up to Rs 25 lakhs as a rehabilitation package to each of the victims of political violence in West Bengal.”
“We will work with the Central Government to ensure efforts are made at the international level to make Bengali one of the official languages in the United Nations.”
The Union Home Minister held a public meeting at Pallighai Scholl ground in Egra in Purba Medinipur district in the afternoon during his day-long visit.
Shah had promised that the manifesto will give prominent space to the central schemes that will be implemented in the state when BJP comes to power after the elections.
The document also promised citizenship to those residing in the state for 70 years or more as refugees.
“Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be implemented in the first Cabinet and refugees who have been staying here for 70 years will be given citizenship. Each refugee family will get Rs 10,000 per year for 5 years,” Amit Shah said.
The BJP has regularly attacked the state government for stalling various central schemes in the states. Amit Shah said a BJP government in the state will ensure fast-tracking of Ayushmann Bharat and other such schemes.
Speaking about various schemes for farmers, Shah said Rs 18,000 would be transferred directly into the accounts of 75 lakh farmers under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. He alleged that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had deprived Bengal farmers of benefits under the scheme for the past three years. The ‘Sankalp Patra’ also spoke of Rs 6,000 yearly aid to families of fishermen.
The BJP manifesto makes big promises about upholding Bengal’s cultural traditions, and development of the Bangla language.
“We will work with the Central Government to ensure efforts are made at the international level to make Bengali one of the official languages in the United Nations,” Amit Shah said while releasing the document.
The party said that to transform Kolkata into an international city, it will set up a Kolkata Development Fund worth Rs 22,000 crore and also ensure that the metropolis becomes a UNESCO Heritage City.
Shah also promised strict action against those involved in corruption, racketeering and political violence.
The manifesto was released at Kolkata’s Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre on Sunday evening. Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dilip Ghosh, Mukul Roy and Dinesh Trivedi were among other party leaders present at the event.
West Bengal will see a 8-phase polling, beginning March 27. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.