It seems the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s maiden Budget has been finalised with an eye on upcoming polls in states like Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu Kashmir as these states have been identified for the setting up of top technical institutes such as AIIMS and IIMs. The Budget unveiled last fortnight by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley includes a proposal for setting up a premier medical institute like AIIMS in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region as well, even as the state is set to go to the polls later this year. The other crucial state is Haryana, where the BJP has not been in power for 15 years, and is leaving no stone unturned to win the Assembly elections. Haryana, ‘a state of farmers’, has been identified for the setting up of a horticulture university and three other institutes in other locations, with an initial sum of INR 100 Crore allocated for it. Jharkhand gets a top agricultural institute. Two institutions of excellence on the pattern of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa will be established in the Jharkhand and Assam, again with an initial outlay of INR 100 Crores for it. Meanwhile, the party leadership in Jammu & Kashmir is aspiring toward winning more than 44 of the state’s 87 seats to form the next government.
Jaitley’s Budget includes a proposal for setting up a new IIT in Jammu. Noting that the sporting talent in J&K has been languishing due to inadequate facilities, Jaitley has earmarked INR 200 Crore for upgrading sports stadia here to international standards. A further allocation of INR 50 Crore for launching a Pashmina promotion programme and a scheme for developing other crafts is also part of the budget. Meanwhile, BJP leaders claim the party leadership in states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand will see changes with Amit Shah assuming the mantle of party president. Though the Modi wave helped the party storm to power with a thumping victory at the centre, party insiders believe that local factors do play a key role in Assembly polls. ‘We can’t ignore local equations. Leadership in Maharashtra and Haryana is crucial as the party has been out of power for 15 years in these states. A special strategy is required as the party has to struggle even though we have strong allies in these states,’ averred a senior leader.