BJD promises marriage assistance for poor girls

BJD promises marriage assistance for poor girls

If voted to power again, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in Odisha has promised to provide marriage assistance of Rs 25,000 to girls belonging to poor families. This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while addressing an election meeting at Komna in Nuapada district.

Patnaik, who also heads the BJD, declared a slew of other measures for the development and financial improvement of women. “The women are the real ‘double engines’ for overall development and progress of the society”, the four-time chief minister, who is leading his party’s campaign for a record fifth term in officek said.

Patnaik was taking a dig at arch rival BJP’s “double engine” theory. BJP leaders, including stalwarts like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, have been urging the people in Odisha to vote the saffron party to power so that the “double engine” (BJP governments both at the Centre and in the state) can drive Odisha onto a new path of prosperity and progress.

Patnaik also announced that if voted to power again, heath care assistance for women, which is Rs 7 lakh per annum at present, will be increased to Rs 10 lakh. His government would also provide work orders worth Rs 5,000 crore every year to Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the state managed by women.

The BJD government had already announced interest-free loans up to Rs 5 lakh for SHGs across the state, to strengthen their business.       

Political analysis believe that the chief minister’s announcements are aimed at wooing female voters just before the start of elections for the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats in the state.

The female vote bank had played a key role in BJD’s spectacular performance during the 2014 twin polls. The regional outfit had managed to capture 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats and 117 out of 147 assembly seats.

The first phase of polling is scheduled to begin on April 11, followed by April 18, 23 and 29.

Patnaik is currently on a two day visit to western Odisha districts of Nuapada and Kalahandi to campaign for party nominees.