Stealing a march over the incumbent AAP-led city government in Delhi, the opposition BJP on Friday released its manifesto ahead of the 8 February legislative assembly elections, promising jobs for all and a pollution-free environment.
Top heavy on freebies, the 21-point BJP poll manifesto released by India’s Union Minister and senior BJP politician Nitin Gadkari promised among other things a city free of air and water pollution, clean drinking water for all households, free cycles for schoolgirls, affordable motorcycles for college-going women and better infrastructure.
Describing Delhi as the “heart of India and the pride of all Indians”, Gadkari, the country’s Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister, said the history of the entire country is connected with Delhi and the history of the BJP is also closely linked with the capital city.
“Our (BJP’s) endeavour has always been to improve both Delhi’s fate and plan well for its future. In the last five years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, our focus has been to rid the city of air and water pollution. This goal is paramount and non-negotiable. The BJP functions on three pillars of governance – ethics, economy and ecology and environment,” Minister Gadkari added.
He made a special mention of the federal government’s key initiatives to clean the River Ganges, its connecting rivers and canals. He said that the government had identified 13 projects on the River Yamuna alone (which flows past the city of Delhi) for improvement.
As regards the provision of drinking water, Gadkari said the federal government has been successful in convincing five Indian states on Delhi’s borders – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – to agree to release water to meet needs of the national capital.
“We (BJP) promise that by 2070, the drinking water problem of Delhi will be completely resolved. The federal government will fund 90 percent of all drinking water initiatives, while the state of Himachal Pradesh will provide the balance 10 percent,” Gadkari said.
“This vision document has been made after receiving suggestions from 1.1 million people,” the minister stated to emphasise the quality of thought put into it.
The ruling AAP, a political party formed in 2012, also claimed that it was not far behind. It has promised guaranteed free public travel for students, basic facilities for the city’s unauthorised colonies, free subsidy on water and electricity and guaranteed reduction of air pollution by planting more than 20 million trees.
In 2018-19, Delhi's per capita income as per the Economic Survey tabled by the city government was pegged at Rupees 365,529 ($5120), which was three times the national average of Rupees 125, 397 ($1756).
The city government has also claimed that the gross state domestic product (GSDP) for fiscal 2018-19 was nearly nine percent, while environmentally the total forest and tree cover area had also increased from 305.41 sq.km in 2017 to 324.44 sq.km by 2019.