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Decoding Cong Fear Over Extension Of PM Modi’s Garib Kalyan Yojana

No sooner Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the Congress, as expected, launched a tirade against him.

Balasaheb Thorat, Maharashtra Revenue Minister, said the announcement was made with an eye on Bihar polls in November.

So, what should a politician do? Play cricket, instead of playing politics? It is the dharma of politicians to play politics as it is dharma of a cricketer to play cricket. Questioning Virat Kohli for playing cricket will only make a person a fool of himself.

This criticism begs the question – why is the Congress devastated by this announcement?

It will be interesting to remind readers about what Amit Shah, as BJP President, had said in June 2018. He had said the party’s objective was to increase its vote share from 17 crore people in 2014 to 22 crore in 2019.

In fact, the BJP achieved the target comfortably. The party’s total vote share increased by a significant 6.5 percentage points compared to 2014.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY): All you need to know

Of the 60.37 crore total votes polled in 2019 general elections, more than 22.6 crore were for BJP. The total number of votes for BJP rose by 32 per cent or 5.5 crore compared to 17.1 crore votes it had got five years ago.

So, what was the reason for BJP to make an impressive return to power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections?

The victory was on the back of several initiatives launched by it, from 2014 to 2019.

The initiatives were:

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1) Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (Toilets) which made the party to have a direct connection with women voters.

2) Ujjwala scheme (Gas Cylinders) also had an immediate emotional connect with women voters.

3) Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana became huge a success among the people who enjoyed electricity for the first time after 71 years of independence.

4) Ujala (Energy Efficiency Programme) made a huge connection with urban consumers as they could save on electricity bills.

5) Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana resulted in getting the support of millions of people, who did not have house of their own.

6) Neem-coated urea, soil health cards, solar panels and PM-Kisan Sannman Nidhi wooed farmers to great extent.

PRADHAN MANTRI KISAN SAMMAN NIDHI - NEXT IAS - Current Affairs Blog

7) Ayushman Bharat project helped BJP connect with the poor instanteniously.

8) Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana helped millions of poor to open bank accounts which helped them receive government benefits directly, instead through middlemen.

9) BJP has done several works for Dalits and OBCs. One can read details here.

So, these are some of the schemes included in Modi’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” slogan, helped BJP to improve its vote share from 17 crore to 22.6 crore in 2019.

In contrast, the Congress vote share jumped marginally from 19.3 to 19.6 per cent. In aggregate terms, party added 1.17 crore votes from its 10.69 crore votes in 2014.

If these schemes, which catered to the poor and the marginalized, helped BJP improve its vote share by almost six crore, one can imagine the wonders schemes, under Garib Kalyan Yojana, can do to BJP in future elections.

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The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, a free ration scheme, would cater to 80 crore people across India till end of November. The scheme provides five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month free of cost to the poor.

Even if, 10 crore people out of 80 crore vote for BJP in addition to 22.6 crore people, the damage it could cause to the Congress is astounding. And, that’s what is bothering the Pappu-Vadra party. Period.

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