Union home minister Amit Shah unveiled the BJP’s poll manifesto for the Bengal Assembly elections in Kolkata on Sunday, promising jobs for every family, free education and 33 per cent reservation in government jobs for women, and vowing to clear the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act in the first Cabinet meeting of a BJP-led state government.
The party’s manifesto is not just a manifesto, Mr Shah said, but a ‘Sankalp Patra’, a pledge of commitment from the country’s largest party, to transform Bengal into “Sonar Bangla”.
Referring to the manifesto, the BJP leader said: “We have decided to provide free education to women from KG to PG. There will be free travel for women in public transport. Nine women police battalions and 3 women police reserve battalions will be raised to ensure security for women. Widow pension will be increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000.”
On the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Bengal, Shah said, “We are sincerely trying to provide citizenship rights to the refugees and Mamata Banerjee is opposing it. CAA will be implemented in the first Cabinet meeting and refugees who have been staying here for 70 years will be given citizenship. We have another resolution in our party’s manifesto that refugee families will get Rs 10,000 every year,” he said.
The manifesto says that every household in Bengal would be provided at least one job in the next five years.
Mr Shah said that the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana would be extended to the state and Rs 18,000 each will be transferred to 7.5 million farmers’ bank accounts. Every landless farmer will get Rs 4,000 yearly, he said. Fishermen will get Rs 6,000 every year and Rs 3 lakhs accident benefits. He said that Ayushman Bharat will be implemented in the state.
“Three new AIIMS hospitals will be built in North Bengal, Jangalmahal and Sundarbans. We would invest Rs 20,000 crore to develop infrastructure of hospitals,” he said. The party will also run cheap “annapurna” canteens to provide meals at Rs 5.
The manifesto said that a Tagore Prize at par with Nobel Prize and Satyajit Ray International awards at par with Oscars will be instituted to bring back Bengal’s cultural richness. “A Sonar Bangla fund worth Rs 11,000 crore which will promote art, literature and other such sectors will be constituted,” Mr Shah said.
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. The manifesto also said Bagdogra Airport will be elevated to an international Airport and another airport would be set up in Purulia.