Bihar polls: Populism and BJP go hand in hand

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is back to doing what it does best. The saffron party, which is likely to release its manifesto on 1 October,  will give out freebies for all sections of society, before Bihar Assembly polls.

If chief minister Nitish Kumar thought his government was still attractive to young girls and their parents in the state, then he must watch out. The BJP is about to promise women empowerment, at least the symbol of it, in urban and rural areas.

If the BJP is voted to power, it will give 5,000 Scootys to girls—more than 100 in each district every year—on basis of the marks the girls score in Class 12 or Intermediate examinations. The idea is that Scooty, more than anything else attracts girls from all sections of society. No political party or state government has so far promised it. Boys, on the other hand, need not be disappointed. The BJP has promised to give 50,000 laptops for those who perform better in Class 12 examinations.

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi says Nitish’s idea to distribute cycles to girls could pay rich dividends because he, as the then deputy CM and in-charge of finance ministry, had made possible allocation of funds enough for giving cycles to girls.

Another first is interest-free loans to farmers if the loans are taken for agricultural purposes. The BJP is not promising any loan waiver, but is providing loans on lower or nominal rate of interests. The promise will take place along with the PM’s move to rename the agriculture ministry as agriculture and farmer welfare ministry.

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said his ministry had dedicated staff and appointed a joint secretary to conceive and coordinate on welfare measures for farmers in Bihar.

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