- Amit Shah releases BJP's manifesto for Uttar Pradesh polls
- Says will form inclusive government, no discrimination over caste
- Promises Ram temple in Ayodhya, laptops with 1 GB internet for students
But a Hindutva push, subdued for the last few elections as the BJP has pitched development, was seen in it. Mr Shah said there was no contradiction, stating, "Temple and development can co-exist."
Among the promises that Mr Shah highlighted was closing down slaughter houses and he said the BJP, if elected, would seek the opinion of the state's Muslim women and then approach the Supreme Court on the issue of the Islamic divorce triple talaq. He also brought up the alleged mass migration of Hindu families from riot-hit towns in western UP that have a Muslim majority, saying the BJP would form teams to ensure to check the exodus of people from their homes because of communal tension and would put the onus on senior government officials to ensure it does not happen.
In its manifesto, the BJP has unveiled a 'zero-poverty plan', promised to waive loans for small farmers, free education and scholarships for the poor and, in what Mr Shah said tops the offer of Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, free laptops with 1 GB free internet for the young.
The BJP's laptops would be given to all regardless of caste or religion unlike the Samajwadi Party's, said Mr Shah, accusing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's party and also Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party of neglecting UP's development for the last 15 years that they have in turns ruled the state. The BJP, if given a chance to return to power, would bring to UP the kind of development it has to other states it rules, Mr Shah pledged.
In the 2014 election the BJP had swept 71 of UP's 80 seats. Amit Shah said he had feedback that the BJP would win the state by a two-thirds majority in these assembly elections. He hopes for more than 300 seats, Mr Shah said, adding, "We have taken the feedback of about 30 lakh people through missed calls, letters, etc. We have done 5,000 public meetings."
The BSP's Mayawati hit back at the BJP almost immediately saying the BJP has no "moral right" to issue another manifesto, when it had "failed to fulfil any promises made in 2014".
She also attacked Amit Shah on his remarks on the Ram temple at Ayodhya saying, "The BJP's national president should know that is it a new thing they are saying that they will construct the Ram Mandir when they come to power here. The matter is in the Supreme Court. Till there is a decision, they can say what they want, the people will never let them do anything wrong here. This is Uttar Pradesh, not Gujarat."
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