Populism peppered in Modi's manifesto

CM coins a new category, neo-middle class; vows to spend `3 lakh crore for development, build 50 lakh houses

Published: 04th December 2012 10:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2012 10:18 AM   |  A+A-

Looking for an unprecedented third term in the State, a confident Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday unveiled the party manifesto—called ‘Sankalp Patra’—for the December 13, 17 elections, and said the “inclusive document” had something for all sections of six-crore Gujaratis.

“Normally people use the word manifesto, I have chosen the word ‘Sankalp Patra’ which means my commitment towards Gujarat,” Modi said in Ahmedabad, flanked by leaders like BJP national vice-president Purushottam Rupala, BJP state president R C Faldu, State Minister Sourabh Patel, and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

With Modi wearing a white Nehru jacket which had a ‘lotus’ emblazoned on it, and the invocation of the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ at the manifesto launch, the function was not without its share of symbolism.

Vowing to spend `3 lakh crore in the next five years—giving thrust to sectors like rural and urban housing, employment generation, textile, irrigation, power generation and healthcare—Modi also promised to address issues of a new category of people, whom he called the “neo-middle class,” namely those “who have risen above the poverty line but cannot yet be categorised as middle class”.

Modi said it was because of the welfare measures launched by BJP-led governments in the past 10 years that this new class of people had emerged and promised that “his party will create special schemes to cater to this section that once belonged to the poor class”.

The BJP has promised gre­ater job opportunities for ov­er 30 lakh youth of the State, if voted back to power.

Modi’s manifesto came on a day when central BJP leaders continued to praise his leadership and administrative skills and joined the chorus begun by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, who said on Saturday that “Modi was capable of becoming the Prime Minister of the country”.

One of the stand-outs in the manifesto, was the ‘construction of 50 lakh houses with all basic amenities’. Of these, 28 lakh houses will be in rural areas and 22 lakh in urban areas, Modi said.

Hoping to boost the textile sector, he said, “In the next five years, Gujarat will once again become the textile capital of India. Cotton farmers will be the biggest beneficiary.” He envisaged setting up speciality hospitals in Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and North Gujarat.

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