Free Wifi and “pink toilets” for women at prominent public places, free water and sewer connections, weekly health camps in slums and a call centre to receive complaints regarding cleanliness are among the key promises made by the ruling BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls.
Releasing the BJP’s Sankalp Patra on Sunday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said BJP-ruled urban local bodies will be needed for swift and effective execution of the schemes of the Centre and the state government at the ground level. He said that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre wanted to provide funds, but the previous state government built only 29,000 houses under the rural housing scheme. He then pointed out that the current BJP government in the state built 9.71 lakh houses in just six months. “Because we are moving forward in the direction of development by maintaining coordination,” he added.
Adityanath said urban local bodies are the “mini government” in an area and good coordination of these mini governments with the state government will help take development to the people. Assuring that the the state government will fulfill all the promises in the Sankalp Patra, the CM said that families in urban areas who do not have toilets at home will be provided financial assistance of Rs 20,000 to build one. He said cowsheds will be developed and a ‘kanji house’ will be revived in all the 16 municipal corporations of the state for stray animals.
Asked if the civic election results will be seen as a referendum on the state government, Adityanath said, “We consider every election as an examination. But, the Opposition are already leaving the field.”
BJP has promised that all major tourist destinations in the state will be interconnected with helicopter service. These include Lucknow, Mathura-Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Prayag, Vindhyachal, Chirakoot, Kushinagar and Varanasi. Interestingly, Agra is not mentioned.
Asked why Agra is missing from the list, state BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “Agra is already a well- developed tourist destination. Stress has been laid on other sites which have more possibilities for spiritual tourism.”
State BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey claimed that feedback from the ground after nominations for the civic polls indicates that the Opposition was not in the contest anywhere in the state.
Samajwadi Party president and former CM Akhilesh Yadav called BJP’s Sankalp Patra a “chhal patra” (deception note) and said that the document had no reliability. In a statement, Yadav said BJP has issued the “chhal patra” to affect the level-playing field in the local body polls. Yadav also said BJP has not fulfilled any promise it had made before the Assembly polls. Congress spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi said BJP’s Sankalp Patra was a “bunch of lies” to mislead the public.