‘Modi Ki Guarantee’: 10 Ways BJP Has Tried to Woo India’s Middle Class in Lok Sabha Poll Manifesto

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The BJP manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections has a chapter dedicated to the Indian middle class, titled ‘Modi Ki Guarantee of Middle-Class Parivar Jan’.(Image: PTI/Shahbaz Khan)

BJP leaders said their manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections is aimed at creating a sustained, inclusive, strong and future-ready platform for the growth of the Indian middle class

‘Modi Ki Guarantee of Middle-Class Parivar Jan’, says a chapter in the BJP manifesto, or ‘Sankalp Patra’, released on Sunday as the saffron party made a big pitch to the middle class. The clear appeal to woo the middle class comes amid an effort to build upon a loyal voter base of the poor, many of whom have moved to the ‘neo-middle class’ due to the steady increase in their incomes since 2014.

The Lok Sabha election results on June 4 will show if the BJP’s effort has been successful as the party is banking on these voters in a big way to propel it above 400 seats for the National Democratic Alliance. Party leaders said their manifesto is aimed at creating a sustained, inclusive, strong and future-ready platform for the growth of the Indian middle class.

Here are the 10 ways the BJP has tried to woo the middle class voter:

  1. Recognition The manifesto has a full section recognising the aspirations of the middle class. The document clearly identifies opportunities for the middle class to fulfil its dreams and to create conditions for a better quality of life, BJP leaders said.
  2. Improved Indian cities The BJP has promised to encourage the creation of new satellite townships near metro cities across India through a combination of reforms and policy initiatives, and transit-oriented development. There is a promise to create unified metropolitan transport systems that integrate multimodal transport facilities and reduce commute time in cities. It also talks about creating water-secure cities, leveraging best practices for wastewater treatment, aquifer recharge and smart metering for bulk consumers. There is also a promise of eliminating open landfills to manage all kinds of waste. These promises address immediate liveability concerns of the middle class, said party functionaries.
  3. Ease of living The BJP has promised better cities, high-quality infrastructure, faster and better digital infrastructure, controlling pollution, investment in technologies of tomorrow and better living conditions. All these investments benefit the middle class the most, BJP leaders said. There is also a thrust on more cooperation and coordination, with a promise of undertaking long-term infrastructure projects with centre-state-city partnerships with a vision to revitalise the urban landscapes and enhance the quality of life for people.
  4. Focus on high-value jobs The BJP has promised high-value jobs, not just in the main cities, but in Tier II and III cities. There is a promise for using levers like tourism to promote local entrepreneurship and jobs. This will also cause less disruption in day-to-day life with local job opportunities and, consequently, reduce the burden on bigger cities, BJP leaders said. The ‘Sankalp Patra’ also promises to focus on increasing the number of global capability centres (GCC), global tech centres (GTC) and global engineering centres (GEC) in India. Additionally, the party has promised to continue working towards making the country a global manufacturing hub and enhance employment. “The manifesto envisages Bharat as a trusted global manufacturing hub to be achieved through a series of programmes, including simplification of regulatory processes, investment in infrastructure to meet the requirements of manufacturing hubs,” a BJP leader said, stressing on job-creation moves.
  5. Lower housing cost The ‘Sankalp Patra’ talks about making RERA more effective, towards cost reduction in construction and registration, regulatory reforms like enabling automatic approvals for standard housing designs. This is an important concern for the middle class.
  6. Medical insurance for every person above the age of 70 Medical treatment for those in their old age – 70 years and above – is costly and can be draining for middle-class families. Getting insurance for them is not always easy, BJP leaders said. The party has promised health insurance up to Rs 5 lakh for all citizens above the age of 70, irrespective of their family’s income or wealth status.
  7. PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana This scheme was announced on the day of the ‘pran pratishtha’ of the Ram Lalla idol in the Ayodhya temple. Those who can install solar rooftops, including housing societies, can use ‘grid connected’ and ‘battery storage’ solar power for their use. The excess capacity can be fed into the grid and be compensated. “This creates eco-friendly living while setting off costs of power use with earnings from the power fed into the grid. The middle class in the future could see zero electricity bills due to this move,” a BJP leader said.
  8. Better education The BJP has promised expansion of IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, creating more seats and, hence, more opportunities for the children of middle-class families in accessing higher education with better quality and international standards, BJP leaders said.
  9. Investment in agriculture storage infrastructure India can so far store only 47 per cent of all its agricultural produce grown each year, while many other countries can store 100 to 300 per cent of their annual requirement. The BJP has now promised massive new investments in this area and to solve the agricultural storage issues. This will lead not just to farmers getting more remunerative prices, but also lower and more predictable food prices for the consuming middle class, BJP leaders said. “Indian policymakers will no longer have to choose between the interests of farmers and consumers. Both sides can be simultaneously happy once this storage capacity increases,” BJP leaders said.
  10. India’s place in the world Finally, the manifesto has many details on India’s proposed foreign policy initiatives, promoting Indian ideas and values to the world and carving out a place at the global level that Indians could be proud of. “This benefits the Indian middle class the most. In the next decade, the Indian middle class will not only be shaping the destiny of India but will also play a key role as India’s ambassadors to the world. This is the process the BJP manifesto seeks to expedite and solidify, creating an international base and recognition for the middle class to leverage,” a BJP leader said.

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