A first time voter’s view on BJP’s Karnataka manifesto

On the face of it, one would say BJP is promising a “smarter” future to everyone in Karnataka. But is it really the case?

BJP launched its manifesto for the 2018 Karnataka elections this Friday. It was filled with promises that felt nothing more than a dream come true for everyone. According to the manifesto, people of both, the rural and the urban parts of Karnataka are going to get benefited. So much so that it makes us wonder how much of it will they actually be able to accomplish. BJP in the past has proven to be on this spree of promises that it may face a hard time to keep up with their word.

In the list of promises made, what stood out for us the most, was the part where BJP government has gone to lengths to provide the rural women with “incentives” that will, as they say, will “help” them to catch up with the world. Women who fall in the BPL category are offered a lot of “incentives” if they vote for the party.

The promise of giving smartphones to women from the rural part of Karnataka is what comes as a surprise in the manifesto. Under the Vivaha Mangala Yojane, a mangalsutra, 3 grams of gold and Rs 25000 will be given to BPL women at the time of their marriage.

Let us break it down, step by step.

The direction our mind points to after reading the manifesto is to the fact that what makes Karnataka women so significant during these elections that just women of Karnataka are getting smartphones and not women from other parts of the country like Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh. Karnataka is a state that has a high literacy rate of over 75% of its overall population that has gone to school at some point in their lives.

Not to hurt anyone, but smartphones are called that for a reason. The technology calls for smartphones to be highly functional phones that will only make your life easier if you know how to use it properly. Giving smartphones to rural women means a lot of further investment. Any new technology presented to people, that they primarily don’t understand will open up a demand for coders who will essentially have to teach every woman, from scratch. Taking into consideration that they will find the coders who will teach them how to use a smartphone, the next question that comes to mind is what is the time frame that they are looking at to teach them and that will make the women technologically capable?

Incentives for brides to be

Under the Vivaha Mangala Yojane, a mangalsutra, 3 grams of gold and 25,000 Rs will be given to BPL women at the time of their marriage. The yojane is focusing on luring in women’s votes by offering something as big as Rs 25,000. Women who fall under the BPL category need ground level resources like clean water to drink, proper food and sanitation, education and then maybe smartphones and a secured future after becoming a bride. Is this incentive just a way to lure in the women vote bank or is BJP actually trying to make them technologically sound? This just makes everyone who is following the elections wonder how is the incentive of gold, sarees and cash to women any different from the time when men were offered cash and liquor in order to divert the vote bank towards a single party.

Recently, Election Commission officials and police seized over Rs 9 lakh in cash, 7 kg of gold valued at over Rs 1.70 crore and an unspecified quantity of silver worth Rs 11 lakh in poll-bound Karnataka in the last 24 hours, the state Chief Electoral Officer said here on Wednesday evening. The Excise Department officials have seized 1,246 litres of liquor worth Rs 5.79 lakh in the past. Since the poll code enforcement, the Department has seized over 11,700 litres of liquor worth about Rs 53 lakh. This gold and cash was obviously going to be offered to the men and women in order to get them to vote for the party. What will this huge amount of commodities be used for prior to the elections?

A manifesto is supposed to act as an action plan for the to-be-elected party for the term. BJP’s manifesto looks more like a lure-in scheme and not a manifesto that would help the women of Karnataka get basic needs. BJP has to understand the subtle difference between wants and needs of a person.

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