Thursday, 9 December, 2021

Uttar Pradesh Assembly Polls

Priyanka promises smartphones, scooties for girls

Priyanka promises smartphones, scooties for girls

LUCKNOW: Indian Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday announced smartphones for Class 12 pass girls and electric scooties to those completing graduation as part of her party’s second promise to women ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, reports Hindustan Times.

“I met some girl students on Wednesday. They told me they need smartphones to study and for security. I am happy that Uttar Pradesh Congress, in consultation with the election manifesto committee, has decided to give a smartphone to 12th pass girls and an electric scooty to those graduating following formation of Congress government,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in an announcement on social media on Thursday.

This is the second political promise that Priyanka has made this week. On Tuesday, she announced that the Congress will give 40 per cent of the party tickets to women candidates in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. “These announcements will be part of the Congress’s poll manifesto to be released later,” said a Congress leader.

Priyanka’s announcements are being considered her party’s attempts to reach out to women. Recently, she picked up a broom to clean a Valmiki temple in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) witnessed celebrations after the announcement about providing 40 per cent reservation for women in party tickets. It has decided to take the announcement about smartphones and electric scooties to the girl students to people across the state.

“Please make sure to take these announcements to the people and post them on social media platforms,” said UPCC organisation secretary Anil Yadav in a communication to the party workers on Thursday.

The Congress wants to focus more on the younger age groups as the party reaches out to the women voters.

A picture of some young girls with the slogan “Ladki Hun, Lad Sakti Hun (I am a girl, I can fight)” formed the background when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made the announcement about the distribution of 40 per cent party tickets to women in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

A close scrutiny of the Election Commission of India’s data indicates that as on January 1, 2021 Uttar Pradesh had 145.85 million voters and 67.05 million of them were women. The data also indicates that the number of young voters was high. Out of 145.85 million voters in the state, about 2.19 million were in the 18 to 19 year age group, 36.55 million in the 20 to 29 year and 37.45 million in 30 to 39 year age groups.

About a decade ago, the Samajwadi Party’s promises in the party’s manifesto for the 2012 assembly election had included the distribution of laptops and tablets to students who passed the class 12 and 10 exams, respectively. The BJP, in its UP election manifesto in 2017, also promised free laptops along with free data to college-going students.

Reacting to Priyanka Gandhi’s announcement, UP BJP vice-president and MLC Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, “The Congress is making all such announcements in view of the 2022 assembly election. Everybody knows the Congress did not keep its promise of loan waiver in Madhya Pradesh. The people are also aware of what the Congress has done for women in states where the party is in power.”

“Announcing freebies in elections has become a norm for the political parties in recent years. It’s better to promise something to young girls in the education sector than making announcements on caste or community lines that are not healthy. As far as the issue of giving 40 per cent Congress tickets to the women is concerned, this may not cut much ice unless the party addresses other serious issues like rising unemployment,” Professor Roop Rekha Verma, former vice chancellor of Lucknow University, said.

Niharika Singh, a class 12 student, expressed happiness over the announcement.

“Having an electric scooter will make it easy for us to travel to our college. The smartphone will also help in a great way, especially for attending online classes,” she said.