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BJP banking on welfare schemes to prepare ground for 2024 general elections: Maha leader

BJP banking on welfare schemes to prepare ground for 2024 general elections: Maha leader

Published:14 August 2022

With Maharashtra polls just more than two years away, the Bharatiya Janata Party which returned to power recently after a dramatic turn of events, will rely heavily on welfare politics to prepare the ground for the general and state elections, a senior party leader said.

Mumbai | With Maharashtra polls just more than two years away, the Bharatiya Janata Party which returned to power recently after a dramatic turn of events, will rely heavily on welfare politics to prepare the ground for the general and state elections, a senior party leader said.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had indicated that the new government, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, will focus on covering more population under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in urban areas.

According to the BJP leader, welfare politics has indeed played a crucial role for the saffron party in reaping dividends in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

“With a very short period at our hand, the Maharashtra BJP unit has almost finalized to prioritise such schemes and policies over any big-ticket project,” the senior leader said.

Fadnavis had indicated that the Shinde-Fadnavis government will focus on expanding the PMAY coverage.

“Our review found out that only 16 per cent of urban beneficiaries have built their homes under the PMAY. It is too little and instructions to increase the coverage of the scheme have already been given. In rural areas, the PMAY's coverage is nearly 75 per cent,” he had said.

Another welfare scheme the state government, in which the BJP is a majority player, may prioritise the laying of pipelines supplying drinking water at every home in semi-urban and rural areas of Maharashtra under the ‘Jal Jeevan Scheme'.

Launched in 2015, the PMAY is a flagship scheme of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Although at the time of its launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had envisaged leaving no urban person without a pucca or properly-constructed house, various glitches and the coronavirus pandemic put a spanner in its coverage, the BJP leader said.

Although the tenure of the current Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly ends in March and October 2024 respectively, due to the model code of conduct, the incumbent state government will have less than two years to take and implement policy decisions.

The model code of conduct will also kick in during elections to several civic bodies due in the next few months.

When asked about the two key welfare schemes the Shinde-Fadnavis government will focus on, the BJP leader said, “A house under PMAY scheme and laying of pipelines supplying drinking water at every home in semi-urban and rural areas are the two key projects we would like to focus on in the next two years. If we could succeed in increasing the number of beneficiaries under both these schemes, it would have a long-lasting impact on the beneficiaries and the goodwill could reflect in general and assembly elections in our favour”.

Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats, followed by 48 in Maharashtra, 42 in West Bengal, and 40 in Bihar.

“If we have to retain power comfortably (at Centre), the BJP needs to win a maximum number of seats in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The benefits of PMAY were witnessed in the UP elections, and we hope to expand PMAY coverage in Maharashtra ahead of the Assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections,” said another BJP leader.

According to the latest Maharashtra Economic Survey, urbanisation in Maharashtra is more than 42 per cent.

Underlining the Survey findings, a former Maharashtra minister who belongs to BJP said, “The ‘Jal Jeevan Scheme' of the Union government, which Maharashtra is also going to implement on a large scale, will be another key welfare project which we hope will create goodwill for us by the time the election schedule is announced. It would address very crucial and long pending problems in the rural areas”.

He said rural parts of the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions would be targeted under this scheme as the maximum number of people from these areas suffer due to a lack of assured drinking sources.

“With the ‘Jal Jeevan Yojana', the government would undertake laying of water supply pipelines, construction of drinking water tanks and connecting them to every household,” he said.

Out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the BJP had contested 25 and won 23 in the 2019 polls and 105 out of 288 seats in the state Assembly polls. During a bye-election, the BJP won one more seat increasing its tally in the Lower House to 106.


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