Will ‘Har Ghar Nal, Har Ghar Jal’, a scheme of the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, in collaboration with states, turn out to be a game changer for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the country’s most populous state – Uttar Pradesh – in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha Polls?
Political pundits and experts feel the scheme, if implemented well, could do what Ujjawala scheme did for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in UP and free ration distribution programmes did for the party in the 2022 UP assembly elections.
WHAT IS HAR GHAR JAL SCHEME?
A part of the department of drinking water and sanitisation, the Ministry of Jal Shakti’s Jal Jeevan Mission is a scheme envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
The programme will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through gray water management, water conservation and rainwater harvesting. The Jal Jeevan Mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive information, education and communication as key components.
THE SCHEME IN UP
According to the state data, CM Yogi Adityanath-led UP government has bagged the third position in the country for its extraordinary progress in the implementation of the scheme.
The statistics revealed that UP has provided 97,11,717 tap connections benefitting more than 5,82,70,302 villagers, against 39,33,140 in Rajasthan. This means, more than five crore villagers have started getting pure drinking water under Har Ghar Jal Yojana.
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“So far, tap water connections have been provided to every household in UP’s 36.59 per cent rural households, whereas in Rajasthan, tap water has reached 36.47 per cent rural households,” said Anurag Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Namami Gange and Rural Water Supply.
The UP government has a plan to ensure supply to 40,000 families. In February, tap water reached 81 lakh families in UP, with the state leaving Jharkhand and West Bengal behind.
The top five states that have shown extraordinary growth in ensuring strict implementation of the scheme are Bihar (1,59,10,093 connections), Maharashtra (1,09,98,678 connections), UP (97,11,717 connections), Gujarat (91,18,449 connections) and Tamil Nadu (79,62,581 connections).
A GAME CHANGER?
Despite the slow growth, experts in UP call the scheme a “game changer” for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“As we have seen, the Ujjawala scheme played a crucial role in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls in the BJP’s victory and free ration distribution helped in the 2022 UP assembly polls. I won’t be surprised if Har Ghar Jal scheme plays a crucial role in impacting the voters in the 2024 UP Lok Sabha polls, resulting in its victory,” said Shashikant Pandey, head of department of political science, Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow.
गांवों में जल का संचार, सभी को मिले आदर्श जीवन आधार ! जल जीवन मिशन की ‘हर घर जल योजना’ के माध्यम से यूपी के ग्रामीण परिवारों को नल से मिल रहा स्वच्छ पेयजल। प्रदेश के हापुड़ जनपद में जल जीवन मिशन की ‘हर घर जल योजना’ का 72.30 प्रतिशत कार्य हुआ पूर्ण। #JalJeevanMission… pic.twitter.com/B4OLfZBM91
— राज्य पेयजल एवं स्वच्छता मिशन, उत्तर प्रदेश (@upswsm) June 7, 2023
Pandey further said that the BJP is good at analysis and pre-and post-poll exercises. Of late, the BJP has changed its focus from hardcore Hindutva politics to pro-development and progressive approach.
“Over the years, they have realized that long-term survival is not possible by just focusing on Hindutva politics. So they have drifted towards economic security, social security, health security, crop security and so on. This has also paid them good returns in the past,” said Pandey.
Besides, he also said the BJP is the only party that has changed their approach. “Other than playing a Hindutva card, they are focussing on governance-based politics,” he added.
He said it is not just about benefiting people, but also transforming them into its vote bank. “The party has transformed their beneficiaries into their voters, which other parties have failed to do. Also, gender-based politics is benefitting the party to the core. Ujjawala scheme, ration distribution, construction of toilets — all of them are focussed on women in the house, who can easily approach and influence other members,” he added.