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Business News/ Elections / Assembly Elections/  BJP, Congress woo women voters with gas subsidies, cash handouts in 5 poll-bound states
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BJP, Congress woo women voters with gas subsidies, cash handouts in 5 poll-bound states

The election season has begun in five Indian states. Both the BJP and Congress are targeting women voters who will play a crucial role in the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2024. Manifestos from both parties promise subsidies for gas connections and cash handouts.

Women voters are higher as compared to their male counterparts in poll-bound Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram (CEO Chhattisgarh twitter)Premium
Women voters are higher as compared to their male counterparts in poll-bound Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram (CEO Chhattisgarh twitter)

Amid the cricket World Cup fever, the season of the election has also begun in five Indian states. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have ramped up outreach to women voters who will be playing a crucial role in determining the outcomes of the Lok Sabha election due in 2024.

The manifestos are clear evidence that both parties have kept women electors in mind, promising gas connection subsidies, and extra cash handouts among others.

Interestingly, the women electors have outnumbered male voters in three of the five poll-bound states as per the data by the Election Commission of India.

Women voters are higher as compared to their male counterparts in poll-bound Telangana (1.63 crore women voters vs 1.62 crore male voters), Chhattisgarh (1.02 crore women voters vs 1.01 crore male voters), and Mizoram (3.49 lakh women voters vs 3.36 lakh male voters).

On the other hand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are significant states for both parties as they account for 25 and 29 Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP successfully shepherded through Parliament legislation to reserve one-third of seats of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections for women. While the Bill will take several years to be implemented, the party has boasted the revolutionary Bill in every election rally in the five states. Besides, learning from the mistakes in the Karnataka Assembly election, the saffron party is wooing voters across classes.

On the other hand, the Congress party is also firming up its strategies with a slew of "poll guarantees" designed specifically for women voters in view of the general election 2024.

Madhya Pradesh Polls: What BJP, Congress promised for women in the state

'GAS SUBSIDY'

The LPG gas cylinders in an Indian household have a significant place just like food items. Any increase in gas cylinder prices can easily disappoint women, specifically--a fact that every political party is aware of.

The prices of cooking gas cylinders are decided by the government of India.

In August this year, the Union cabinet slashed the price of LPG gas cylinders by 200 for all connection holders. Additionally, the Centre also approved a proposal to give 75 lakh new LPG cylinders connection under the Ujjwala scheme. For three consecutive months (September, October, and November), the prices of 14.2 kg of domestic cooking gas have remained stable. In October, the Centre also raised the subsidy to Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries to 300 per cylinder.

However, in the poll-bound states, political parties have announced additional price cuts to woo women voters.

In Chhattisgarh, the ruling Congress said the cost of the gas cylinder will be 494 if they stay in power and the opposition BJP has announced a 500 subsidy on gas cylinders. In Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, as well as Rajasthan, Congress has announced a 500 subsidy on LPG cylinders. In Mizoram, the grand-old party had promised an LPG cylinder for 750.

Chhattisgarh polls: Congress manifesto promises caste census, farm loan waiver

BJP will be releasing its manifesto for Rajasthan and Telangana Assembly polls by this week.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP announced cooking gas cylinders at 450 for beneficiaries of the Ladli Behna and Ujjwala schemes.

'CASH HANDOUT FOR WOMEN'

The Congress government in Chhattisgarh has promised a cash handout of 15,000 for every woman yearly under the Griha Laxmi yojana if it returns to power. Whereas the BJP in its manifesto announced the “Mahtari Vandan Scheme", under which married women will be given financial assistance of 12,000 per year if the saffron party is elected to power.

' Rs15,000 to all mothers, sisters': Bhupesh Baghel's big Diwali announcement

Besides, CM Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government has promised an annual honorarium of 10,000 to the women heads of families under its "Grah Laxmi Guarantee" scheme. Before the polls, the Gehlot government also offered smartphones and free Internet connections to women voters.

Congress announced a similar kind of promise in Telangana too. Under the 'Mahalakshmi' scheme, women will get 2,500 every month if they come into power. Besides, Congress has promised 200-unit free electricity under the 'Grih Jyoti' scheme in Telangana.

Rajasthan assembly polls 2023: Here's what Congress has promised for women

In poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Congress has promised assistance of 18,000 yearly to women. Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP has promised skill development activities for 15 lakh women from villages. The BJP also said that every girl child in the state will be provided a total of 2 lakh until she attains the age of 21 years. In Mizoram, every girl child will be offered financial assistance of 1.5 lakh if BJP wins the election, the party said in its manifesto. BJP has also promised 33% reservation for women in government jobs in Manipur.

MP Poll: BJP promises 2 lakh to girl child, LPG at 450 | Top points

The political importance of women voters has been growing with every election. In the 2018 Assembly election in Rajasthan, female voter turnout was 74.66% and male was 73.80%. In 90 constituencies of Chhattisgarh, women voters percentage was higher than men in 24 constituencies in the 2018 assembly election. The same was true in 51 of Madhya Pradesh’s 230 seats. In fact, in 24 seats the rate of women voting crossed 80% in the 2018 legislative assembly elections.

The Election Commission of India's data reflected that women's voter participation outshone men's participation in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well.

67.18% of women voters participated in the democratic exercise in 2019 national polls as compared to 67.01% of males.

The Mizoram election and phase 1 election in Chhattisgarh were held on 7 November. The phase 2 election in Chhatisgarh will coincide with a single phase in Madhya Pradesh on 17 November. Rajasthan and Telangana will go to polls in a single phase on November 23 and November 30, respectively.The results of the assembly polls will be out on 3 December.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mansi Jaswal
I write about gender-related issues, women's rights, women empowerment, gender equality, women's health topics, and their wealth management. Also, profiling women who have fought all odds to make their own identities in their own rights. Before Mint, I worked at Business Today and Business Standard. I studied journalism at IIMC, Delhi. Got a story idea? Email me at mansi.jaswal@htdigital.in
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Published: 13 Nov 2023, 03:01 PM IST
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