Maharashtra and Haryana will vote on October 21 to elect new assemblies and the counting will take place on October 24. These are the first states to go to polls after the historic verdict in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
Both the states have BJP chief ministers at the helm. While the BJP has absolute majority in Haryana, it runs a coalition government with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Elections will be held for 288 of the state legislature’s 289 seats. One seat belongs to a nominated member.
In Maharashtra, with the election just around the corner, political parties have intensified their campaign. On Saturday, the Shiv Sena released its election manifesto or the ‘Vachan Patra’ as it likes to call it. The manifesto was released by party president Uddhav Thackeray and his son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who is making his electoral debut from Worli constituency in Mumbai.
On Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) also released its manifesto titled ‘Sankalp Patra’, which was unveiled by working President Jagat Prakash Nadda and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Congress-NCP alliance had released their manifesto on October 7.
Maharashtra is a large state, and the concerns facing the electorate recalibrate from region to region. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key issues picked by various political parties in the imminent Assembly elections.
Employment: One of the burning issues in the whole of the country, employment continues to be a big-ticket issue in Maharashtra, India’s richest state. The BJP in its manifesto has promised one crore jobs in the next five years. BJP promises $1 trillion state economy by 2022.
While addressing a press conference, Aaditya Thakerey said, “One thousand ‘Bhojnalayas’ (eateries) would be set up across Maharashtra, which will provide a nutritious meal at Rs 10. These centralised kitchens in every district will be managed and operated by women.
Water calamity: Maharashtra has been racked with far-flung droughts in areas such as North Maharashtra and Marathwada. It has also suffered sweeping floods in cities such as Mumbai and Pune. For all the parties climate change is a deep-seated matter of concern. BJP is planning to make Maharashtra ‘drought free’ with Rs 16,000 crore Marathwada drinking water grid project. Farmer suicides: According to the government’s own figures, more than 12,000 farmers committed suicide in the state between 2015 and 2018. The enraged farmers staged numerous protests in the state capital.
The Shiv Sena party sought to address farmers' issues by promising Rs 10,000 to those in need. Thackeray also said that it would be ensured that every individual farmer is covered under crop insurance. Currently, a farmer receives the insurance money only if the crops of the entire village are destroyed. The manifesto also promises that the prices of fertilisers remain constant if the party is elected for the 5-year tenure.
BJP promised in its manifesto to provide credit to the farmers at reasonable rates for which a new organisation will be set up with the help of the Centre.
The Congress-NCP alliance had also promised immediate farm loan waiver in their manifesto.
Sugarcane boom: In contrast to some other states, Maharashtra’s sugarcane economy has fairly done well in the last few years. BJP, the saffron party ruling the state, is expected to reap the rewards of a plenteous harvest.