After the Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP Tuesday released a manifesto specifically for Varanasi. Much like the AAP’s “Banaras sankalp patra” that focused on “river, sewer and weaver”, the BJP’s “Varanasi ghoshna patra” promised that ghats along the Ganga would be cleaned and developed, the handicrafts sector revived and the lot of weavers improved.
The AAP, which has city-specific manifestos for Delhi and Mumbai, released the one for Varanasi on May 1. The BJP denied that it had picked up the cue from the AAP. “Where is the question of copying any other party?” said Sanjay Bhardwaj, BJP media in-charge for eastern UP. “Our leader has already said he has come here on the call of the Ganga and is committed to reviving the river.”
Narendra Modi, BJP candidate from Varanasi, has been talking of developing the Ganga like the Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. Pictures of a revived Sabarmati riverfront have been splashed in ads issued by the party.
Arun Jaitley released the BJP manifesto at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Jaitley said the NDA is the only option left for the country. “The only other option is chaos,” he said.
Promising to develop tourism, the BJP manifesto also mentions a ‘tourism university’. The AAP manifesto had said that it would prefer not to develop the city’s tourism potential “corporate style” but would rather make the city a place for “spiritual tourism” and would demand special packages from the Centre and the state for this.
Other features of the BJP manifesto include revival and development of sarv-vidya (all kinds of knowledge); sarv kaushal (all types of skills); paryatan (tourism); improving weavers’ lot and, like the AAP’s, roads and sewers in the city.
Jaitley said that if Modi becomes the MP and the prime minister, “weavers in the city will be provided with many facilities and equipped with the latest technology”. For weavers, the AAP manifesto had promised a yarn manufacturing plant within Varanasi, minimum wages, uninterrupted power supply and removal of intermediaries from the business chain.
The AAP manifesto also focused on problems relating to education, health and civic infrastructure, and promised a monorail and a ring road project.