Tag Archives: Assembly Elections 2022

From Narmada Water to Dairy, A Look at 5 Pillars of Modi’s ‘Gujarat Model’ That Make PM Invincible on Home Turf

The BJP’s 27-year-long reign in Gujarat and eight years after Narendra Modi shifted to Delhi as prime minister after helming the state as chief minister for 13 years, the Modi factor remains invincible in the PM’s home state even in the present elections.

As the state votes in Phase 1 on Thursday, News18 spoke to senior BJP and government functionaries to understand the five pillars of Modi’s ‘Gujarat model’ that keep him popular in the state till date, making him the BJP’s biggest vote-catcher. These long-standing benefits to people are Narmada water reaching people in villages, peace and security for two decades, the education infrastructure leading to a high literacy rate, support for dairy sector, and a high-quality tourism circuit.

Travel across Gujarat and one hears more and more about these issues that continue to drive in votes for the BJP based on the face of Narendra Modi. So will these factors do the trick in 2022 too? News18 decodes:

Narmada Water

It was Modi who started the SAUNI Yojana as chief minister to solve Gujarat’s perennial problem of water scarcity and droughts, especially in the regions of Saurashtra and Kutch. Under the scheme, 1,370-km of water pipelines in the Saurashtra region have been completed and work on a 1,150-km-long pipeline is under progress. This led to the Narmada water reaching every nook and corner of Saurashtra and Kutch, helping irrigate over one million acres of land. Since 2014, Over Rs 10,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme in the Gujarat budget, changing for good the distressing scenario of women walking miles just to fill a pot of water in Saurashtra or Kutch.

The Narmada canal is now a chain of branch canals, sub canals and distributaries — all measuring up to a length of 71,748 km in 17 districts in total. Modi as prime minister has also remained invested in this project as he recently inaugurated the Kutch Branch Canal in Gujarat that connects the last mile of Western Gujarat with the Narmada River waters, more than 750 km away in Central Gujarat. Further, the Sardar Sarovar Dam provides irrigation facilities in more than 3,000 villages, covering 18.45 lakh ha of land across 73 talukas in 15 districts of Gujarat. Drinking water has reached more than four crore people in Gujarat.

Further, the ‘Nal Se Jal Yojana’ launched by the prime minister in 2019 has been completed in Gujarat with a tap connection with drinking water reaching all the houses in the state at present.

Education Model

Gujarat’s literacy rate stood at 82.5 per cent in 2021, up from 69 per cent in 2001 when Modi took over as the state’s chief minister. The reason behind this is the network of nearly 55,000 schools in the state and an increase in the number of children enrolled in secondary and higher secondary over the last decades in Gujarat, reflecting that students enrolled are staying in school. The figures shared with News18 show while about 17 lakh students were enrolled in secondary and higher secondary classes in Gujarat in 2001, the number has risen to 29 lakh in 2021. There has also been a drastic decrease in dropout rates.

The figures show that the dropout rate in Gujarat schools in 2001 stood at 25 per cent in primary, 52 per cent in upper primary and 70 per cent in secondary. This has dropped in 2021 to just 1 per cent in primary, 4.5 per cent in upper primary and 23 per cent in secondary, painting a clear picture of a graph which will eventually translate into improvement in standard and quality of life, officials say. “Schemes targeting and incentivising education of girl children has gone a long way to improve the situation,” officials said.

The BJP is also citing how the number of universities in Gujarat has increased from 21 in 2002 to 103 in 2022 and colleges from 775 to 3,117 in the same period. Schemes started by Modi like Vidyalakshmi bond scheme, Kanya Kelavani Rath Yatra scheme, Anna Triveni Scheme and the latest Vahli Dikri Yojana and Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavalamban Yojana have helped the cause of education in the state, BJP says. Gujarat has also become the first state to implement the New Education Policy.

Peace and Security

No riots, stable law and order situation and a terrorism-free environment is another theme on which people seem to back the BJP in Gujarat, making the party defeat any anti-incumbency during the elections. PM Modi has harped on this issue in his present campaign, stressing how the youth in the state had not seen any riots in the last 20 years and must be kept away from the spectre of terror. In big hoardings across the state, BJP is stressing on the ‘suraksha and shanti (peace and security)’ theme to impress the voters again. Modi, in his speeches, has referred to the earlier bomb blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat to cite how the UPA government at the Centre did not cooperate with him then and claimed Congress has been soft on terror.

Dairy Revolution

Gujarat accounts for 1/5th of India’s total milk production and Modi as CM focussed the most on the growth of the animal husbandry sector in the state by creating the concept of a “cooperative model village” and propagating the same throughout the nation as an inspiration for enhanced and better production of milk and milk products. The sector employs 35 lakh milk producers directly and another 10 lakh workers indirectly in Gujarat. The 2020-21 turnover was Rs 39,000 crore, which is projected to be Rs 46,000 crore in the coming years.

Gujarat’s dairy cooperative network is much-hailed with no middle man in the whole process. More than 70 per cent of the money received from the customers goes directly into the pockets of the farmers, most of whom are women. The largest dairy co-operative in India, Amul, is based in Gujarat’s Anand. The ‘Banni’ breed of buffaloes in Kutch have been a success story due to their higher yield and climate-resistance abilities, with Modi talking about the breed during his visit to Kutch region of Gujarat on December 15, 2020.

Of the 35 lakh milk producers in Gujarat, 36 per cent — around 12.5 lakh — farmers are women, another major reason why BJP gets a lot of women votes in Gujarat. Modi as PM has also been emphasising on universal vaccination of animals to solve a major problem of the dairy sector. The Gujarat Mukhyamantri Gau Poshan Yojana has been a hit with dairy farmers. The infrastructure set up by Modi during his tenure as chief minister for the dairy sector still resonates in rural areas among voters.

Tourism Circuit

Gujarat is now considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, much of it owing to Modi’s vision and direction in making the state a hot spot — from Rann of Kutch to the crowd-puller ‘Statue of Unity’ at Kevadia, the temple circuit of Dwarka-Somnath-Ambaji and the world’s largest Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave. The ‘Rann Utsav’ that Modi started in 2006 has grown into a 100-day celebration in Dhordo and hosts 4-5 lakh tourists from India and abroad every year.

The Indo-Pakistan border viewing point in Nadabet has been developed as the ‘Wagah of Gujarat’ with an aim to boost border tourism. It was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah in April 2022. Further, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave being constructed at Motera, Ahmedabad, across 93 lakh square feet will form the foundation for the state to launch the Gujarat Olympics Mission and create a world-class sports infrastructure with an aim to host the Olympic Games in 2036.

The entire project is expected to cost Rs 4,600 crore. The Sports Enclave will include an indoor sports arena, aquatics centre, Velodrome, athletics village among others and in the future, the Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System and Ahmedabad Metro will also be extended to the sports enclaves so that transportation to and from the area becomes easier.

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In Pursuit of Palampur, BJP Seeks to Ride Ropeway to Success in This Congress Stronghold

As the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gears up to fight its big electoral battle across 68 constituencies of Himachal Pradesh on November 12, it will also seek to claim power over the hot seat of Palampur — that it has won just once in the last three decades.

Flanked by the mighty Dhauladhars, the hill station located in the politically significant district of Kangra has remained a Congress stronghold since 1985 when it fielded senior party leader and famous tea-grower Brij Bihari Lal Butail from the constituency. The five-time MLA from Palampur and former Vidhan Sabha Speaker continued his winning streak from 1993 to 2017 when he eventually retired. The streak was broken only once in 2007 when BJP’s Praveen Kumar emerged victorious. In the previous elections held in 2017, Butail’s son Ashish Butail contested his first election and the family won the people’s mandate yet again.

A battle of legacy

However, this time, Palampur will witness a triangular contest with Congress MLA Ashish Butail, BJP candidate Trilok Kapoor, and Sanjay Bhardwaj from the new-entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). In the past week, several national leaders have landed in the hill town to win voters’ approval.

Ashish Butail is confident of repeating the 2017 result when he defeated BJP’s Indu Goswami by 4,324 votes. He is also buoyed by the party’s recent success in the municipal corporation (MC) polls when the Congress won 11 of the 15 seats. Another impetus came from Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s rally in the neighbouring constituency of Nagrota Bagwan, followed by a visit of the party’s Rajasthan MLA Sachin Pilot.

While the Congress is banking on the people’s continued trust in the Butail family, the local BJP unit is invoking the legacy of its senior leaders including former Himachal chief minister Shanta Kumar who was Palampur MLA in 1990.

BJP is hoping to repeat its 2007 success in Palampur. Pic/News18

The party has fielded its state general secretary and chairman of the State Wool Federation Trilok Kapoor, who is fighting his first assembly election on the promise of addressing local issues — upgradation to municipal corporation, employment opportunities, and strengthening local tourism. “The local unit was slightly segmented before. But we saw in 2007, that every time the party has fought the election in unity, it has won. Before that too, former CM Shanta Kumar (ji) and Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar (ji) have remained MLAs from here,” says Kapoor on the sidelines of a rally. “This time, we are fighting as one unit, and we will emerge victorious.”

Palampur is crucial for everyone, as one of the 15 seats in Kangra — one of the largest districts which is said to lead the way for any party to form its next government in the state. From Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to union home minister Amit Shah, the BJP is making all efforts to gain voters’ confidence. In fact, Shah ended the state poll campaign with a public rally in Palampur on Wednesday.

AAP, which otherwise has been losing steam in the state, has injected enthusiasm into its local campaign, with a roadshow by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia a few days before the polls. The party is urging voters to give it one chance to govern the state, citing the example of neighbouring Punjab.

Bringing tourists back to Palampur

Among the many issues dominating the polls in this quaint little town most known for its expansive tea gardens is tourism. The candidates have promised to bring tourists back to the hill station, and boost employment opportunities for the local youth. “Tourists only come to visit Dharamshala and McLeodganj and return from there. We want to invite them to Palampur and give them a glimpse of the majestic Dhauladhars,” BJP candidate Kapoor tells voters during a public meeting in village Banuri.

Among the main projects being used to woo the voters is the 13.5-km ropeway connecting Palampur to Chunja Glacier on the mighty Dhauladhars. Said to be the dream project of former Himachal Pradesh CM Shanta Kumar, it has been hanging fire ever since it was announced in 1990, because of environment clearances, as the area has large reserved forests.

However, last year union transport minister Nitin Gadkari set the ball rolling on the Rs 650-crore project through the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The plan is to build a 13.5-km-long ropeway between Palampur, Thathri, and Chuna Glacier on the Dhauladhars at a height of about 12,000 ft above sea level.

Himachal is set to vote on November 12, and the results would be declared on December 8.

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As Priyanka Leads The Charge, Congress Looks to Finally Fire Up Its Himachal Campaign in Rahul’s Absence

With Rahul Gandhi missing in action for the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls in view of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Congress is planning to go full throttle with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a replacement for him during the campaign with a major push from the party general secretary being planned in the coming few days.

Even as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is pumping up its electioneering with its star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress is now focusing on roadshows and rallies by Priyanka in almost all of the 12 districts of the state. Though Sonia Gandhi is also expected to hold rallies in the state, a major part of the party’s campaign will revolve around Priyanka.

“Her earlier held rallies have been a huge success and we believe she has a connection with the people of the state and we will benefit from her presence here,” said Himachal Congress chief Pratibha Singh. As Rahul is busy with his yatra, the party workers have been demanding high profile-campaigners ahead of the November 12 polls.

Party sources said that Priyanka is expected to address a public meeting in Mandi and a roadshow in Kullu on October 31. “And as we draw closer to polls, she will be holding rallies in Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur, Una, and Sirmaur districts. She could also campaign in the tribal seats of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Bharmour in Chamba district. The dates are being finalised,” revealed a senior party leader.

The Himachal Congress has been found wanting in terms of star campaigners hitting the canvassing and it has been the state unit chief who has been crisscrossing the state for her electoral rallies as of now. “The campaign needs a push with big leaders trooping in,” admitted a leader.

Priyanka’s forays into the electoral campaign come at a time when the BJP is planning to carpet bomb the state with a battery of top leaders including PM Modi. The party is planning huge events on October 30 with rallies by star campaigners like Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

The party has already organised hugely successful rallies of the Prime Minister and he too is expected to hold public meetings and roadshows in the days to come to further boost the campaign.

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