India Union Budget 202-22: Tamil Nadu has got the maximum chunk of this cumulative amount of Rs 2.27 lakh crore, followed by Kerala, Assam and West Bengal.
Union Budget 2021-22: Facing elections in four states, the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre today allocated a lion’s share of the Union Budget 2021-22 towards the states scheduled to go for polls this year. The FM announced an outlay of Rs 2.27 lakh crore for road and highway construction in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — all four states will have assembly elections in the next few months. While the BJP is looking to retain Assan and put up a strong challenge to Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, it is struggling to expand its base in two other southern states — Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Tamil Nadu has got the maximum chunk of this cumulative amount of Rs 2.27 lakh crore, followed by Kerala, Assam and West Bengal. In the Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced 3,500 km of national highway works in the state of Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crores. These include Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur corridor. While elections in Tamil Nadu will take place later this year, the construction of these highways will begin next year. In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is in alliance with the AIADMK. In the last assembly polls, the saffron party could not win any seat here.
For Kerala, the Centre has allocated Rs 64,000 crore for highway construction. This is another state where the saffron party has found it hard to expand its footprint. In 2019, the BJP contested 20 seats but could not win even one. However, its vote share went slightly up to 15.64 per cent. In the 2016 assembly election, the saffron party had won just 1 of 140 seats. But its vote share had gone up by 8.93 to 14.96 per cent.
In the recently held municipal elections, the BJP fell short of expectations but won 1182 gram panchayats, 37 block panchayats, 2 zila panchayats, 320 municipalities, and 59 Corporation wards. For Kerala, Sitharaman today announced 1,100 km of national highway works at an investment of Rs 65,000 crores. This includes the 600 km section of MumbaiKanyakumari corridor in Kerala.
The Finance Minister has also allocated Rs 34,000 crore to construct 1300 kms of national highways in Assam and Rs 25,000 crores to build 675 kms of highways in West Bengal. In Assam, the BJP has been in power since 2016. It is eying power in West Bengal, where it has gained substantial ground. In 2019, the saffron party won 18 of 42 seats with 40.7 per cent vote share. For West Bengal, Sitharaman today announced: “675 km of highway works in the state of West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crores including upgradation of existing road, Kolkata–Siliguri.”