Lucknow: Twelve days to go for the first round of polling in Uttar Pradesh and it is pouring sops. The BJP and the Congress released their manifesto on Friday. While the BJP rode the Hindutva plank, the Congress focussed on reservations and unemployment.
The Congress wants to increase the sub quota for backward Muslims to 9 per cent while the BJP threatens to do away with the 4.5 per cent sub quota that the Centre has promised while promising a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The BJP is also aiming at creating one crore jobs in the state over the next 5 years and the Congress has promised 20 lakh.
For the farmer, the BJP promises debt waiver upto one lakh rupees and free 24 hour electricity. The Congress guarantees minimum eight hours of electricity during the day.
The BJP promises wheat at Rs 2 and rice at Rs 3 a kilo to any one with a ration card - accompanied by free cycles for girls, free laptops for poor students, a free cow and free medical treatment to all below poverty line (BPL) families.
Clearly outdone by this, Congress leader Salman Khursheed said, "The BJP is making all these promises because they know they will never be voted into power."
The BJP's 72-page manifesto has a special mention of UP Chief Minster Mayawati and her memorials. The perty wants to restructure her parks if voted to power and build a spiritual disneyland in Vrindavan.
BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni said, "Those parks are a shame. They don't even represent the full Dalit community but just Mayawati's.
The Congress and the BJP's versions of freebies and sops have come days after a string of similar Samajwadi Party (SP) sops. Interestingly these days, they don't call it a manifesto anymore - it's now a modern sounding vision document. So are they flights of fancy, a sign of desperation or a mere piece of paper which no one takes seriously.