Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday promised the formation of a committee to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for the state, free trips to the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, and an end to “religion-based reservation”, as he released the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto in poll-bound Telangana and addressed several rallies ahead of crucial assembly elections in 12 days.
“There will be the formation of a committee to draft a Uniform Civil Code which will implement the code within six months,” Shah said in Hyderabad, calling the promises “PM [Narendra] Modi guarantees”. To be sure, the promise of the UCC is a long standing BJP demand, and in Uttarakhand, where the party is in power, a similar committee has been instituted, and a special session of the assembly to discuss the implementation of the code is likely in the coming days.
The BJP manifesto said that it would officially commemorate Hyderabad Liberation Day on September 17 every year. “We will observe August 27 as Razakar Horrors Remembrance Day to pay homage to the martyrs of Bairanpally and Parkal. Further, on assuming office, we will establish a museum and a memorial in Hyderabad, to document the brave struggle of the people of Telangana against the Razakars and the Nizams,” BJP manifesto said.
Shah accused Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) of thus far avoiding such celebrations because of a policy of “appeasement”.
He also targeted the Congress and said that they were fundamentally against granting statehood to Telangana. “When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, three states were formed and there was no violence. The Congress always rejected the demand for Telangana and for their own political motives, formed the state in a rush. They were never in support,” he said.
The manifesto also said that, on assuming power, the BJP will appoint a commission of enquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe corruption allegations against the KCR government, including the alleged irregularities in the Kaleshwaram dam.
“KCR is spending Telangana’s money and the Congress is spending Karnataka’s money. We only contest and win elections based on development,” Shah said.
The BJP, in the manifesto, said that it will remove “religion based” reservations and instead increase them for Other Backward Class (OBC), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities.
“Channelising the aspirations of 52% of the marginalised sections and providing real social justice and take care of all the people and ensure their development, the BJP will appoint Telangana’s first chief minister from the BCs (Backward Classes),” the manifesto also said.
The party also promised to provide free laptops for girl students who are entering undergraduate degree or professional college courses, as well as a fixed deposit of ₹2,00,000, redeemable when a girl turns 21. “Aada-Bidda Barosa fixed Deposit by the Government at the time of birth of a newborn girl child so that ₹ 2,00,000 can be redeemed at the age of 21,” the manifesto said.
Speaking at a rally in Warangal, Shah said that while the Congress and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) are dynastic parties, the BJP’s leadership represents India. “We have decided that if our government comes, no son or daughter will become chief minister but a backward class leader from a poor household will become the CM. The present election is a contest between PM Modi’s good governance and KCR’s negligence,” he said.
While no Congress or BRS reaction was immediately available, chief minister Rao on Saturday accused the Congress and BJP of working together to limit him and his party. “They feel safe if KCR is defeated in Telangana,” he said at a poll rally.
On Friday, Congress released its own manifesto for Telangana. It promised monthly financial assistance of ₹2,500 for women, LPG cylinders at ₹500, 200 units of free electricity for all households and ₹2 lakh crop loan waiver are among the six guarantees for the state.
“We have sensed the people’s need for a change in the government. To ensure that we form the government, we have launched this manifesto that covers the needs of every section of the society,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, releasing the 42-page manifesto titled “Abhaya Hastam” in Hyderabad.
Telangana votes on November 30, the last phase in a clutch of assembly polls across five states, the last such cycle before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with results set to be declared on December 3.
(With inputs from agencies)