TODAY -

BJP's election manifesto
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: April 15, 2024 -



WITH barely five days left for the start of seven-phase elections to the 18th Lok Sabha, the much awaited election manifesto or the "Sankalp Patra" as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prefers to call it, was finally revealed on Sunday (April 14).

Unveiling the manifesto, titled "Modi's Guarantee" at the party's headquarters in the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Our focus is on dignity of life ... on quality of life, our focus is also on creating jobs through investment....," to the cheering of BJP members, including top federal ministers who sat in the audience wearing stoles featuring the BJP's lotus symbol.

Leaving aside the promises of implementing, the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Citizenship Amendment Act, One Nation, One Election, etc., which are contentious issues; it is interesting to note that the election manifesto of BJP that envisions to propel India into the league of top three global economies of the world by 2047 still talks about creating jobs in various sectors, providing free ration to 80 crore citizens for the next five years under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, free electricity to poor households under PM Surya Char Muft Bijli Yojana, expanding welfare programmes, including bringing all Indians above the age of 70 under the existing free health insurance (Ayushman Bharat scheme), pushing piped cooking gas connections to all houses to follow up on a subsidised cooking gas cylinder programme launched in 2016, and continuing to provide Rs 6,000 a year to farmers and ensuring timely hikes in Minimum Support Price for crops.

Apart from the fact that these are more or less the same promises that the saffron party had made to the people in the last two general elections, the disconnect between the vision of a "Viksit Bharat by 2047" and 80 crore citizens of the country waiting in line to get free ration is too glaring to be missed.

Whether these promises would help the BJ P and its allies to secure over 400 seats in the election to ensure a third term in office for Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to be seen; but the people in Manipur, which is reeling under the impact of an unprecedented ethnic conflict for more than eleven months now, can very well brace up for another round of allegation and counter-allegation between the ruling BJP and the main opposition party, Indian National Congress (INC).

With the election manifesto of BJP promising to accelerate development of robust infrastructure along the Indo-China, In-do-Pakistan and Indo-Myanmar borders as well as continue with the government's efforts to promote peace in the Northeast, the ruling party in the state will now brag about how concerned and dedicated the Modi government at the centre has been to transform an "abandoned region" to an "abundant region".

The election manifesto of BJP has not only promised to "introduce technological solutions on fenced portions to make fencing smarter" but also "continue our efforts to address the issues in the disturbed areas and remove AFSPA in a phased manner" and "further work towards resolution of inter-state border disputes amongst Northeastern states through sustained efforts".

These are exactly the kind of poll promises that the saffron party's state unit needed the most at the moment to save its face after the debacle of misinterpreting the pledges made in the manifesto of Congress party with regard to formation of a reconciliation commission for bringing about administrative settlements satisfactory to all people of Manipur for resolving not just the over eleven-month long ethnic crisis but also all other issues afflicting the state.

Having said that, with fresh ethnic violence erupting in the state, all that the political parties in strife-torn Manipur could do now is to stop their wrangling over who is responsible for the current crisis and spare the affected people from reliving the horror of the May 3, 2023 mayhem and its aftermath.

This is the least they could do if they have any concern and regard for the people.



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