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Yogi govt takes notes from SP 2012, promises tablets/phones to 1 cr students ahead of UP polls

In 2012 assembly polls, SP’s promise to distribute free laptops to students graduating from Class 12 was seen as a key factor behind the party’s victory.

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Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh Thursday appeared to take a leaf out of the 2012 Samajwadi Party (SP) campaign playbook as it announced a Rs 3,000 crore scheme to distribute tablets and smartphones among 1 crore youngsters pursuing graduation, postgraduation, and technical and diploma courses in the state.

The scheme, which comes months before the state goes to the polls, was announced by the chief minister in the assembly during his speech on the supplementary budget, through which governments seek additional expenses over and above the outlay laid out in the budget. 

During the 2012 assembly election campaign, the SP had announced a scheme aimed at distributing free laptops to Class 12 graduates in the state. The party subsequently won the election, and the laptop promise is seen as a key factor behind the victory. 

“One crore students will be selected under a scheme of Rs 3,000 crore and provided tablets or smartphones for studies. We will also provide a ‘preparatory allowance’ to students preparing for competitive exams… for a maximum of three such exams,” Adityanath said.

The details of the scheme will be released at a later date.

Also Read: How Yogi Adityanath, fresh from meeting Modi-Shah, plans to quell anger over Covid management

‘Focus on youth’

The Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday presented a supplementary budget of Rs 7301.52 crore for 2021-22.

A source in the UP government said the tablet/smartphone scheme “is the BJP’s answer to the SP’s laptop distribution initiative ahead of the elections”.  

“This will also help the BJP woo first- and second-time young voters. The Akhilesh government’s laptop scheme gained a lot of attention during his regime. Now, the government does not want to lose the support of students before the polls,” the source added. “In the whole supplementary budget, the main focus was on youth, employees & farmers.”

The SP said the initiative was just another “false promise” by the BJP. 

“The BJP government has not fulfilled several announcements made in their manifesto for the 2017 assembly polls, and now they are still making announcements,” said SP spokesperson Rajiv Rai. “I would say, ‘ghoshna baba’ ki farzi ghoshna hai yeh (this is a false announcement by a person who keeps on making announcements).” 

The youth, he said, is angry with the BJP. “They will take revenge from them in the 2022 assembly polls,” he added.

For farmers 

During his speech, Yogi Adityanath also tried to woo government employees and farmers. He announced that the state government had increased the dearness allowance of government employees to 28 per cent (in keeping with the Centre’s mandate) with effect from July 2021. The government will enhance the honorarium to anganwadi workers/anganwadi helpers, he said, adding that over Rs 1 lakh crore has been paid to farmers towards sugarcane arrears in the last four years

The state government, he said, provided free rations to more than 15 crore families during the pandemic. 

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: Modi govt’s pitch for 2022 UP election — booklet on how BJP worked for OBC welfare


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