The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra on Tuesday released its manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
In the manifesto, titled 'Sankalp Patra', the BJP proposes the names of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar, along with Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, and Savitribai Phule, for India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.
The BJP's manifesto was unveiled by working president Jagat Prakash Nadda and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with less than a week until the state goes to polls.
State BJP President Chandrakant Patil and Mumbai unit head Mangal Prabhat Lodha were also present at the event.
One of the highlights of the manifesto is its Bharat Ratna demand for Savarkar, Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule.
What makes Veer Savarkar's proposed Bharat Ratna interesting?
Veer Savarkar makes for an interesting choice for the BJP as the freedom fighter was once charge-sheeted for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination only to be acquitted after a trial at a special court inside Red Fort.
Interestingly, the BJP has been in an awkward spot with Gandhi's assassin, Hindu extremist RSS worker Nathuram Godse, with party MP Pragya Singh Thakur calling him a "patriot".
After Savarkar, BJP may demand Godse's Bharat Ratna: D Raja
Communist Party of India general secretary D Raja slammed the BJP saying, "This is the biggest irony of our times that while we're all celebrating the birth centenary of Gandhiji, the BJP is seeking Bharat Ratna to Savarkar- an accused in his assassination case."
Raja added, "The day may not be far off for BJP to demand Bharat Ratna to Gandhiji's assassin Nathuram Godse."
BJP Maharashtra manifesto promises $1 trillion state economy by 2022
Unveiling the manifesto, Nadda said, "This manifesto is a well studied and pragmatic document. It is a serious document unlike the Congress' and NCP's who have diluted the effects of a manifesto."
The manifesto promises to make Maharashtra a $1 trillion economy by 2022.
It also proposes houses for all and the creation of five crore jobs in the next five years.
Manifesto commits to uplifting labor, Dalit, marginalized sections
Nadda said the manifesto aims for "Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas Aur Sabka Vishvas". He added, "It is focused on the last man standing on the last pedestal of society. Our commitment is to bring labor, Dalits and marginalized sections of the society into the mainstream."
Other focus areas
BJP also unveils plan to make Maharashtra "drought-free"
Nadda also said that the party has a plan to make Maharashtra "drought-free" with the Rs. 16,000-crore Marathwada drinking water grid project.
The party promised to provide drinking water supply in the parched Marathwada region by installing a closed pipeline and connecting all 11 dams in the region.
The manifesto also lists setting up a separate maintenance department for the national and state highways.
BJP assures completion of Shivaji Maharaj Memorial
Further, the BJP also promised to complete the Shivaji Maharaj Memorial and the BR Ambedkar memorial at Indu Mills by 2020 apart from investing Rs. 5 lakh crore in several infrastructure projects across the state.
Maharashtra polls to be held on October 21
The Maharashtra assembly polls are due to be held on October 21.
Out of the total 288 assembly seats, the BJP will be contesting 164 seats in an alliance with smaller parties while its principal ally, Shiv Sena, will contest 124 seats under the "Maha Yuti" (aka "grand alliance").