Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, on Tuesday, released his party’s manifesto for the upcoming election in Uttar Pradesh. The manifesto is called the ‘Samajwadi Vachan Patra’, and runs the tagline ‘satya vachan, atoot vaada’ (word of honour, unbroken promise). It was unveiled on the same day as that of its main rival in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Commenting on the release in a press conference, Yadav said, “I remember that when in 2012 the SP had released its manifesto and then when we formed the government, we held a meeting of all departments related to various promises and fulfilled all those promises. With ‘satya vachan, atoot vaada’, we are going to people with this document as a manifesto for 2022.”
In his remarks at the manifesto’s release in Lucknow, the SP supremo said that the manifesto aims to lead Uttar Pradesh to prosperity, development and progress in the coming years.
Similar to the BJP’s manifesto for Uttar Pradesh’s assembly election, the ‘Samajwadi Vachan Patra’ seeks to woo farmers, women, and young voters. In the SP manifesto, the party has promised generous freebies and tax breaks for farmers as well as 33 percent reservations for women in government jobs.
Yadav stated that all farmers will be ‘debt free’ in four years, and that ‘krin mukti‘ law, aimed at assisting poorer farmers, will be enacted. Besides guaranteeing payment to sugarcane farmers in 15 days, the 88-page manifesto promised minimum support prices for all crops. If required, a corpus for the same will be created, according to Yadav. “All farmers will get free power for irrigation, interest-free loan, insurance, and pension arrangements will be made,” he added.
The Samajwadi Vachan Patra assures that all farmers will be debt-free by 2025, and that it will bring in a debt relief law for extremely poor farmers. The plan promises to provide farmers with less than two acres of land with two bags of DAP, five bags of urea, electricity for irrigation, interest-free loans, insurance, and pensions. For those farmers who died during protests, the manifesto proposes Rs 25 lakhs in compensation. If elected to form the next government, it also proposes setting up Kisan Bazars in all districts in memory of farmers who lost their lives during protests.
As part of its manifesto, the Samajwadi Party promises to provide regular government jobs to ‘Shiksha Mitras’ within three years, and provide employment in the MSME sector to one crore people. Furthermore, the party has promised to bring an urban employment scheme similar to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). According to the manifesto, their ‘Urban Employment Guarantee Act’ will revitalise the IT sector by creating 22 lakh jobs. According to the SP manifesto, all vacant posts in the state’s education system will be filled within the first year of the new government, and temporary and contractual recruitment methods will be discontinued.
The Samajwadi Party’s manifesto promises 33 percent reservation for women in government jobs. This will cover women from all sections of society, including women from economically disadvantaged groups, scheduled castes and tribes. It is mandated in the manifesto that women can file complaints regarding the 1090 power line via email and WhatsApp as well. Girls will also receive free education from the kindergarten to the Master’s level. The manifesto calls for reviving the Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana, under which girls will receive a lump sum payment of Rs 36,000 after passing class 12. In addition, it pledges a zero-tolerance policy for crime against women, minorities, and Dalits.
Senior citizens will benefit from the revival of the ‘Samajwadi Pension Yojana’ that promises a pension of Rs 18,000 per year to the aged, the needy, and women below the poverty line. The manifesto promises “Samajwadi grocery stores” to provide rations and other necessities at subsidies to poor workers, masons, and the homeless. It also promises to set up a ‘Samajwadi Canteen’ that will sell “Samajwadi thalis” for Rs 10. According to the manifesto, the party will set up a “dial 1890 Mazdoor Power Line” to solve the problems of migrant workers. For artisans, labourers, and workers in the unorganised sector, the manifesto promises an annual pension of Rs 18,000 as well as cashless health services for the poor.
According to the SP manifesto, below poverty line (BPL) families will receive two LPG cylinders every year as part of their freebies. All two-wheeler owners will receive one litre of petrol per month, and auto rickshaw drivers will get three litres of petrol and six kilograms of CNG per month. In addition, 300 units of free electricity and a 24-hour power supply are promised in the manifesto.
Having released the manifesto, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee expressed support for Akhilesh Yadav. Earlier today, PM Modi, while addressing a virtual rally, said that the rival parties are daydreaming about splitting votes in the region, but people will defeat them again as they did in the past. He said that the SP and the TMC do not care for UP or the honour of its people. During the West Bengal polls last year, Banerjee, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that the BJP was trying to capture power in her state using “goons from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh”.
The impact of manifestos is hard to predict during an election year, since they have become somewhat of a rite. In the seven-phase poll, which begins February 10, western Uttar Pradesh will be the first region to vote. The votes will be counted on March 10.