West Bengal Assembly polls | BJP’s manifesto for Bengal promises job quota for women, CAA

62-page document a vision of realising party’s slogan of “Sonar Bangla”, says Amit Shah

The BJP on Sunday promised reservation of 33% for women in government jobs, implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and allocation of ₹18,000 pending to 75 lakh farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi in its manifesto for West Bengal. Releasing the “Sonar Bangla Sonkolpo Potro 2021”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the manifesto is a vision of realising the party’s slogan of “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal).

The BJP also promised free education for girls from KG to PG, free rides for women in public transport and conditional cash transfer to school going girls in Class VI, IX, XI and XII. It promised nine women only police battalions and three battalions under the State Reserve Police force. The Trinamool Congress has a conditional cash transfer scheme for school going girls called Kanyashree Scheme, which has received international acclaim.

Mr. Shah promised the implementation of the CAA in the first Cabinet meeting of the BJP government in West Bengal. The BJP had promised its implementation in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls too after the Bill was passed in Parliament. During the run up to the campaign, the BJP leadership including Mr. Shah have maintained that the rules for the CAA are being framed and the Act will be implemented after the vaccination for COVID-19 is completed.

“The refugees who have come to the State as early as 70 years ago are still awaiting their rights. We will implement CAA in the first Cabinet of the BJP government. Under the CM Refugee Welfare scheme, ₹10,000 will be given to each of the refugee families for the next five years,” Mr. Shah said. The CAA is an emotive issue for the Matuas, Hindu refugees who migrated from Bangladesh. They can influence electoral results in 40 of the 294 seats.

Mr. Shah also promised the implementation of Ayushman Bharat in the first Cabinet meet. He said the BJP government will ensure that there is zero infiltration and promised fencing of the border.

The Home Minister blamed the “black period of misrule” of the Trinamool Congress government for the low development indicators. Accusing the TMC of indulging in politics of appeasement, Mr. Shah said citizens under the BJP rule will not have to approach the courts for holding Durga and Saraswati Puja.

The BJP also promised ₹6,000 per annum for fishermen. The manifesto also promised Annapurna Canteens where subsided cooked meals at ₹5 a day will be served thrice a day. A similar announcement of “Maa canteens” was made by the Trinamool Congress.

In the 62-page document, the BJP promised setting up of a “Sonar Bangla Economic Revival Task Force” for ushering in industrialisation and institution of Tagore Prize and Satyajit Ray Award to recognise excellence. Mr. Shah promised anti-corruption helpline under the Chief Minister’s Office to tackle extortions and also promised setting up task force for investigating irregularities in relief distribution for cyclones like Amphan and Bulbul.

The TMC said the manifesto was released in Hindi and not Bengali. “For the first time ever, a non-Bengali has released a manifesto meant for Bengal because @BJP4Bengal did not have a single ‘son of the soil’ to do the same. Bengal will never forget this insult. #BengalRejectsGujaratiManifesto,” it tweeted from its official handle.

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