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Rediff.com  » News » Gujarat Govt Remains Election-Focused

Gujarat Govt Remains Election-Focused

By Vinay Umarji
December 23, 2021 18:24 IST
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'The new cabinet intends to create an impression in people's minds that even if it is new, it is performing from day one.'

IMAGE: Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah along with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and others lights the lamp at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Umiya Mata temple in Ahmedabad, December 11, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

As with the Centre and any other state it rules, the Bharatiya Janata Party's new cabinet in Gujarat, helmed by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, remains election-focused as it nears 100 days in office.

From preparing and implementing a 100-day action plan to ministers following up continuously on pending projects, the new cabinet is being seen as doing what it was tasked to do when it took over from the Vijay Rupani regime on September 12 -- ensure a big win for the party in the assembly elections next year.

In the first few weeks of office, the government made fresh appointments of bureaucrats and personal secretaries to ministers.

"On its agenda was administrative and poll-sensitive work that would improve the image of the party and the government, such as beggar-free streets, freeing cities of traffic jams, and improved urban infrastructure. However, an unfortunate leak meant that it was not made public," said a party source.

In its 100 days in office, the new regime has been focused on improving health infrastructure amid the pandemic.

So far, it has been largely successful, on the back of a decent start by the previous regime, in vaccinating a large section of the population.

In the past couple of months, after Patel became chief minister, the coverage of the first dose of the vaccine has grown to 94 per cent while the second dose has crossed 76 per cent.

Moreover, urban centres, which will be the key for the BJP during the assembly elections, have seen 100 per cent first-dose coverage in cities like Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, and Gandhinagar while Ahmedabad has touched 99 per cent, whereas the second dose is averaging between 65 per cent and 85 per cent in these cities.

Similarly, the government has announced the Niramay Gujarat Yojana, a scheme that looks to provide safety and preventive care for families from non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, paralysis, cancer, renal diseases, and anaemia.

The scheme, which will cover more than 30 million people in the state, will screen and protect beneficiaries above 30 years at primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres.

The government has also been aggressive in securing the rural and agrarian vote.

For instance, last month it launched the Atmanirbhar Gram Yatra in rural areas, where developmental works worth Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) would be started or dedicated in different districts of the state.

According to political observers, despite lack of any major announcements, the new cabinet is trying to ensure performance.

"There have been no major standout decisions. Yet, the government is in a hurry to take even the smallest decisions. All the ministers are told to take action and clear files as soon as possible. The new cabinet intends to create an impression in people's minds that even if it is new, it is performing from day one," says political analyst Hari Desai.

At the same time, observers also say the new chief minister's background and experience will help the government in not only elections but also major events like the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit to be held in January.

"Hailing from the Patidar community and having helmed the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, the new chief minister ticks some crucial boxes for the party," says political analyst Achyut Yagnik.

"His expertise in urban area management and the Patel factor will help in polls. But it will also help the government in attracting investment and dealing with industry ahead of the mega summit."

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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Vinay Umarji
Source: source