The early lead in the counting seems to have poised the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh. The results seem to be a clear thumbs up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic policies over the past few years.
These elections were seen as the referendum on Modi's decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes to fight corruption and black money. The early results seem to suggest he has passed the test.
But beyond demonetisation, there were many economic policies that Modi undertook, perhaps, with Uttar Pradesh elections in mind:
PM Ujjwala Yojana
Last year on May 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an ambitious social welfare scheme - Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana - with the aim of providing 5 crore LPG connections to women below the poverty line across the country. However, the place BJP chose to launch the scheme was Ballia, a district in eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. It seemed to be a strategic decision and Modi's master stroke to reach out women in a state that was less than a year away from the Assembly elections.
The scheme was aimed at replacing the unclean cooking fuels mostly used in the rural India with the clean and more efficient LPG Gas. By launching this scheme Prime Minister was able to develop connection with women at large and express concern about their health. PM Modi set aside Rs 8,000 crore for this scheme.
"As per the target, now at least 8,000 households in every assembly segment will get LPG connection under PMUY very soon. These beneficiaries will be from poor, backward caste and Dalit sections of society. The launching of the scheme will definitely benefit the BJP in the next election in entire UP," Indian Express d a senior BJP leader.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched another flagship housing scheme 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojna' last year in November. The scheme was designed entirely for the rural masses. But, what is more interesting is that once again Prime Minister Modi chose Uttar Pradesh to launch the scheme. The affordable housing scheme was launched in Agra. The ambitious scheme aimed to provide affordable houses to 4 crore people living below the poverty line by the year 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his flagship programmes to get electorate support in assembly elections. Launching a scathing attack on Uttar Pradesh's chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Prime Minister said the state government was not willing to help the central government with a list of people who could benefit from the affordable housing scheme. "1.5 crore people in UP don't have houses. Our government wanted the list of homeless people from the UP government but didn't get the list," the Prime Minister had said while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh.
Under the new rural housing scheme, the central government will provide a financial assistance of Rs 120000/- for constructing the home. An additional assistance of Rs 12000 will also be provided to construct toilets in households. Modi government aims to replace all temporary (kutchcha) houses from Indian villages by 2017.
Jan Dhan Accounts
Soon after taking over the highest chair in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India's biggest ever financial inclusion drive. Modi launched his first flagship programme called Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana which was country's National Mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely savings accounts, remittance, credit, insurance, pension in an affordable manner. Prime Minister's move was to provide access to formal banking services to more than 15 per cent of the unbanked population in the country.
It helped Prime Minister Modi re-establish his image as the leader of poor masses. Jan Dhan Yojna was not just about banking but also about several other benefits that the Prime Minister Modi offered with the accounts.
Under the scheme, if a person holds an account for more than six months s/he is allowed an overdraft of up to Rs 5,000. According to ET report in 2016, over 19 lakh account holders availed an overdraft amounting to Rs 256 crore. Jan Dhan accounts holders are also able to claim accidental insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh. The scheme also provides life cover of Rs. 30,000 payable on death of the beneficiary.
This was another way of reaching out to people who were never taken into India's formal banking system. Prime Minister Modi tapped country's over 15 per cent population with just one economic policy. So far, over 27.84 crore accounts have been opened under Jan Dhan Yojna.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana
Gram Jyoti Yojana was launched with the aim of ensuring round the clock electricity supply to farmers and rural households. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on 25 July 2015. The scheme was expected to initiate much awaited reforms in the rural areas.
During his Independence Day speech in 2015, the Prime Minister had announced that all of the country's villages would be electrified in 1,000 days and that by December 2018, all Indian citizens would have access to electricity.
"At the time when the NDA government came to power, there were 18,452 un-electrified villages. Out of these, we have electrified 12,022 villages under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY). The ministry is trying its best to complete the target by 1 May 2018," The Sunday Guardian d a ministry official as saying.
Electricity was a big issue in recently concluded elections in Uttar Pradesh. While addressing a rally in Varanasi, the Prime Minister asked the audience: "Yeh batayein ki Kashi mein 24 ghanten bijli milti hain ki nahin? (Tell me, is Kashi getting 24 hours electricity?)". The crowd responded: "No".