The 2017 election manifesto of the ruling Samajwadi Party
(SP) in Uttar Pradesh seeks to establish Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s credentials as a development-oriented youth leader rather than one yielding to populism.
SP’s current manifesto, which was released in Lucknow recently, is a far cry from its 2012 election statement, which had then deliberately sought to shed its perceptible anti-English and anti-computer image by promising populist doles such as free laptops and tablets to students.
Its 2017 manifesto talks about ‘smart village’, ‘ease of business’, single window system, handicraft development park, entrepreneurship and start-up development, bicycle highways to stress its forward looking development agenda.
wishes to capitalise on the appreciation in Akhilesh’s political stature after emerging victorious in the long-running power feud within the party and government. In this connection, the manifesto has only provided an apt vehicle to realise that aim as well.
While, the 2017 manifesto of the party has a dash of populism in the form of laptop to meritorious students, free smartphone and monthly payout to the destitute women, it pales in comparison with the 2012 manifesto which had promised huge doles in the form of free laptops, tablets, unemployment allowance, Kanya Vidya Dhan, free irrigation etc.
Through 2017 manifesto, the ruling dispensation has tried to stamp Akhilesh as a visionary leader, who espouses a grand vision for UP by targetting all the key sectors, including infrastructure, education, health, social sector, power, agriculture, minorities development etc.
Since, infrastructure has been a key area under the incumbent Akhilesh regime through Agra-Lucknow Expressway and the proposed Lucknow-Ballia Expressway, SP
under its new national president Akhilesh has now promised two more mega Expressway projects in Bundelkhand the Terai regions spanning 552 and 303 km respectively.
While, SP’s 2012 manifesto had promised to provide separate reservation to Muslims on the basis of their population in UP, the current manifesto talks about protecting their religious freedom, ensuring their participation in government schemes commensurate to their ratio and generating 1 lakh job opportunities in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) segment.
In 2012 manifesto, SP
had promised it would press upon the Centre to implement recommendations of Ranganath Mishra and Rajinder Sachhar committees on the socio-economic conditions of minorities, however, its new document makes no reference to that.
has promised 75 per-cent of the state annual budget towards agriculture and farmers if voted back to power.