Himansu Shekhar Rout

Odisha BJP has announced to provide a monthly allowance of Rs 1000 for women if it comes to power. The promise is said to be a strategy of the BJP to chip away into the women vote bank of the BJD under its Shakti Vandana programme, as a similar promise has handed out electoral dividends to the party in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. 

As per reports, the BJP has adopted the strategy of the Hindi heartland in Odisha by announcing such a plan. 

In Madhya Pradesh, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government paid Rs 1250 into the bank accounts of the poor, helpless and differently-abled women as monthly allowance under the Ladli Behna scheme ahead of the elections. 

In Chhattisgarh, the BJP announced a similar promise in its manifesto under the Mahatari Vandana Yojana in 2023 and as a result, lakhs of women got connected with the BJP. The plan was a game-changer in Chhattisgarh for the BJP which wrested power from the Congress. 

Aiswarya Biswal, the president of the Odisha BJP Mahila Morcha said, "Our manifesto focuses on women and their rights. As part of their rights, the committee is enlisting financial assistance for women in the manifesto."

However, BJD leader and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ashwini Patra asserted, "A major chunk of women voters will vote in our favour. The party will win in over 115 Assembly seats.” 

As per reports, 50 per cent of the electorate in Odisha are women while nearly 70 lakh women are members of 6.2 lakh SHGs under Mission Shakti. They form the vote bank of the BJD.   

The BJD has been trying to retain this section of voters by announcing various sops like interest-free loans, free-scooty schemes and Mission Shakti Cafes.   

BJP has also announced some schemes like Lakhpati Didi, Namo Drone Didi and so on. 

Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said, “Targeting the BJD’s women vote bank, the BJP has drawn up a well-thought-out strategy. This is just an indication of its plan.  This is definitely a plan aimed at attracting SHG women to its side.”

Mohanty added that the Ladli Behna scheme in MP was a resounding electoral success for the BJP.

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