With assembly elections just a few months away, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is pulling out all stops to woo voters, particularly in rural areas. Distribution of sports kits in villages is the latest project the government has initiated to connect with the youth.
Highly placed sources said the government plans to provide sports kits in villages over the next couple of months.
“The state government plans to distribute a sports kit, comprising cricket and volleyball kits in each of the 18,000 villages in the state. The kit will also include chess boards and caroms. The idea is to create an environment of sports right up to the village level, and to connect with the rural youth,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.
The official said that the government is already working on encouraging sports in rural areas through Khel Mahakumbhs. “The distribution of sports kits is a step forward in this direction,” he said.
Officials say that modalities of the project have been finalised, and tenders will be invited for the kits soon.
“Each kit is expected to cost around Rs5,000 or so. The state government will spend somewhere in the region of Rs9 - 10 crore for the project,” said officials.
While funds are hardly a constraint for the state government when it comes to publicity or wooing voters, there are concerns over whether it can be completed before the Election Commissions’ Model Code of Conduct comes into force. It is expected to come into force from September-end or early October.
“This means we effectively have less than two months to complete distribution of sports kits before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force. We are not sure if it can be completed by then, because the Election Commission may not allow it once the election schedule is announced,” said an official.
The state government has also planned a series of Garib Kalyan Melas, under which benefits and doles are given out to poor beneficiaries of various government schemes, in mid-August. The melas will be held in each of the 26 districts.