New Delhi: On the backfoot after the Hindi heartland losses, BJP MPs now feel the Interim Budget for 2019-20 with sops for farmers, middle class and the unorganised sector has given them some talking points that would tilt the balance in their favour in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
They feel that all promises are credible and in the coming months it will be the party’s core plank and would set the election agenda.
The announcements by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in the Interim Budget came as a major boost to party MPs who were worried about their prospects as there was farm distress, stress in the unorganised sector after demonetisation and the middle class complaining of lack of relief.
Several Union Ministers and party functionaries lauded the Budget terming it as progressive, visionary and dynamic while in private discussions, the BJP MPs said it would help them sail through the elections.
“The Interim Budget has made the boldest bid to please all the stakeholders including the distressed farmers, the harried middle class taxpayers and the legions of unorganized workforce. It promises a modern, tech-driven, high-growth, equitable and transparent society,” a senior BJP MP told IANS.
“There are already 22 crore beneficiaries of the government schemes and if you add these three major groups, the BJP will have an edge over its rivals,” he added.
After the party’s defeat in the Hindi heartland states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the coming together of opposition parties and the entry of Priyanka Gandhi into active politics, there was a sense of uncertainty among the MPs about the party retaining power.
“Modiji has changed the game again against the adversary,” said another BJP MP wishing not to be identified.
He said this definitely would strengthen the party’s prospects in the next Lok Sabha polls against earlier predictions of BJP’s numbers going down.
“If you see the opposition parties, their base is caste politics. But what Modi government has done is above all that. Every poor belonging to different castes and societies have benefited from government schemes. The one who has got housing or gas connection or electricity, why would he chose other parties,” he said.
Echoing the view, another party MP said the opposition parties must make a realistic assessment as electorate when voting to elect the national government often tilts towards a national party and votes for those who empowers them.
“This is a new India full of aspirations. They feel that only Modi government can do it,” he said.
A senior BJP functionary in Parliament said that the Budget announcement for farmers, middle class and the unorganised sector would help the prepare its strategies to win the 2019 Lok Sabha battle.
Questioned about the need for such populist measures after the government’s claim of having transformed the lives of the people, he said, “There is nothing wrong with it. Everyone knows we are going to face elections. And after all we are in politics. The measures announced are for betterment of people’s live.”
With opposition parties joining hands and Congress President Rahul Gandhi announcing a Minimum Income Guarantee scheme, it was widely expected that the government would go for populist measures in the Budget.
The relief to the agrarian section is the major component of the Budget with a scheme for annual payment of Rs 6,000 for farmers with land holdings of less than two hectares.