Udaipur: While the Congress in Rajasthan is banking on its women-centric welfare schemes and “guarantees” to woo voters, the BJP is mobilising women leaders from other states to counter the ruling party.
Apart from the BJP state Mahila Morcha, women leaders from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu Kashmir are campaigning in various constituencies of the poll-bound state to publicise the Modi government's schemes and programmes and reaching out to the general public, especially women.
Assembly elections in the state will be held on November 25 and counting will be done on December 3.
BJP Mahila Morcha national general secretary Deepti Rawat Bharadwaj, who is in charge of the party’s women’s unit in Rajasthan during elections, said that a strategy has been made to ensure that women votes go to BJP.
Women constitute about 50 per cent of the total voters in Rajasthan, so the Gehlot-led Congress government in the state launched several schemes for them.
The focus of the state government has been to reach out to the women through the Indira Gandhi Smartphone Yojna, Annapurna Food Packet Scheme, half fare in state roadways buses, gas cylinders for Rs 500 for Ujjawala scheme beneficiaries and free sanitary napkin scheme among others.
“The Mahila Morcha here is active but there is a lot of pressure in the elections, hence experienced women have come from other states too. They are moving to different assembly constituencies. Teams have been formed for the home-to-home campaign,” Bharadwaj told PTI in Udaipur.
According to the strategy, two teams will work in each mandal (circle), one in the morning and the other in the evening, she said.
The sitting MLAs, former MLAs, senior office bearers, deputy mayor or mayor are among the women leaders who have been roped in for Rajasthan elections, she said.
“The elections in Rajasthan are more dependent on women. As they constitute half of the population in the state, it is important to reach out to them. Women's votes have always gone to the BJP and Narendra Modi because he does what he says, he does not just talk but actually fulfils the promises. That is why women trust him,” Bhardwaj said.
She said the members of the Mahila Morcha were doing corner meetings, home-to-home campaigns and reaching out to female voters in all manners.
Attacking the Congress government, she said that cases of rapes and atrocities on women have increased in the Congress’ rule and the schemes they talk about have not given any benefit to the women.
“Rajasthan is number one in rape cases. There have been brutal incidents in the state that reflect the failure of the government to protect women’s honour. The schemes which the Congress talks about were launched before elections just to take political advantage,” Bhardwaj said.
She said that women trust PM Modi instead of the Congress.
“We are fully confident that the BJP will get a huge mandate in the assembly elections and will form the government in the state,” she said.
When asked whether the BJP will make a woman chief minister, Bharadwaj, who is also in charge of the Udaipur division, said it is for the party to take a decision.
“The one who takes all along will be chosen by the party to lead the government,” she said.
On the other hand, social welfare board chairperson and Congress candidate from Jaipur's Malviya Nagar assembly constituency Archana Sharma said the Gehlot government launched women-centric schemes ever since it came to power five years ago.
“Rajasthan is the state where immediate action has been taken on crime against women whereas the BJP stands with culprits wherever there is a BJP government,” she said.
“At a time when the inflation was at its peak, it was the Gehlot government that helped the women manage their kitchen by giving gas cylinders for Rs 500, food packets and other benefits also given to support them in high inflation that was caused due to the policies of the Modi government,” Sharma said.
The Congress leader exuded confidence that the Congress would retain power in the state.
"There is no anti-incumbency factor in the state and the atmosphere is in the favour of the Congress. The decades-old tradition of the power being alternated between Congress and BJP is going to break this time because people are happy with the Congress rule,” Sharma said.
“People know that PM Modi and BJP had made several promises but failed to fulfil them and instead, the government put the burden of inflation on people. There is no Modi wave this time because the BJP has been fully exposed," she said.