The fifth year of the second term of the Modi government has already begun. The party has also started sounding the poll bugle for the election year. That’s why the BJP has started making various major announcements for the people. Recently, the Modi government’s announcement to slash the prices of LPG gas cylinders by Rs 200 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan has once again brought the issue of ‘freebie politics’ at the forefront before the crucial upcoming general election in 2024 and Assembly elections in many states in the coming months.
Reacting to his own government’s decision of slashing LPG gas prices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The festival of Raksha Bandhan is a day to spread happiness in our family. The reduction in gas prices will ease the burden of the sisters (women) of my family and their life will become easy. May every sister of mine remain happy and healthy, this is my wish from God.” On the other hand, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the people will get relief from inflation and women will no longer be exposed to working in smoke-filled household chulhas.
BJP National President J P Nadda, while directly speaking about the benefits of the reduction in gas prices to 33 crore people, praised the decision to drastically reduce the price of LPG gas cylinders across the country. He also said that now Ujjwala scheme beneficiaries will be able to avail LPG gas cylinders at Rs 700 and all other usual consumers will now be able to purchase LPG cylinders at Rs 900. Nadda also said that this decision by Modi will benefit 33 crore consumers across the country.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won more than 22,90,00,000 lakh votes and if the opposition alliance announces a common candidate from the alliance during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on 400 or 450 Lok Sabha seats against the BJP, then the BJP will need nearly six to eight crore more votes to win more than 300 Lok Sabha seats, that is, in that case BJP will have to take its total vote share between 29 crore to 31 crore. Several opposition party leaders took a jibe at the Modi government’s announcement and asked the Prime Minister whether the BJP is also indulging in ‘freebie politics’ which he himself and his government vehemently opposed.
The BJP refuses to say that this decision by the Modi government is a ‘freebie’. The party says that this measure will improve the standard of living of the mothers and sisters of the country and ease their difficulties, reduce the economic burden on them and improve their standard of living. The Modi government is making a poll pitch dedicating development projects for the people of the country. It is clear that political tussle regarding ‘freebie politics’ and ‘freebie culture’ is likely to continue in the future.