Why hasn’t the BJP released its manifesto in Gujarat?

Despite not releasing the manifesto, the BJP has been pretty vocal about some promises to the people of Gujarat

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Yashonil Gupta

Although a number of ministers have been campaigning for the BJP for Gujarat assembly elections and a number of promises have been made in various rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP curiously has not released its election manifesto as yet.

Despite some strong claims in its campaign, the BJP has not released its manifesto, which, according to some reports, was under the works. The BJP made some bold claims in both its 2007 and 2012 Gujarat state assembly elections and was lauded both of the time for its visionary approach and for the ‘Gujarat Model’ it’s then Chief Minister Narendra Modi much talked about. But this doesn’t seem to be the case this time around.

The Congress released its manifesto or in the party’s words ‘Navsarjan Gujarat Manifesto’ on Monday. Some promises made by the Congress in its manifesto are EBC quota for patidars, 16-hour power supply to farms, loan waiver for farmers, construction of 25 lakh houses, Smartphones and Laptop for students, a monthly allowance to the unemployed youth of the state etc. The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for almost 22 years and it has always released a manifesto each time there were an election, but this time it seems highly unlikely that it will be released and even if, somehow the ruling party announced its manifesto, the polls will remain unaffected by it because of the delay.

According to reports from various media outlets, BJP had claimed that it would prepare its manifesto by taking suggestions from all sections of the electorate. In 2012, The Gujarat polls were conducted on December 13 and December 17. The BJP and Congress released their manifestos on 3rd and 4th December respectively. The BJP in its manifesto promised a lot many things like affordable housing scheme with a plan of building 50 lakh houses till 2017, employment to 30 lakh women, double road network till 2017, pure drinking water to everyone till 2017, lower interest rates for farmers. The deadline of these promises has been met but the promises aren’t.

It may be clever on the part on BJP or incredibly foolish, considering that it didn’t have a good track record of fulfilling promises, as pointed out by Vice President of Congress Rahul Gandhi for 9 days in a row. Gandhi has also used Modi’s speeches against him, yesterday he was quoted “This election is about just one thing, and that is the future of the people of Gujarat. And in his entire speech, Modi ji did not talk about your future, as to what the BJP wants to do for you in future.”

Releasing a manifesto isn’t compulsory. It is the Political party’s call whether to release an election manifesto or to let the people decide their state’s fate just by campaigns and speeches, but a manifesto is seen as a written document which may be used as a proof of the promises made by a political party against the opposition. That is why not releasing a written document of the promises or delaying it might be the ruling party’s way of avoiding accountability, as it is facing through the hands of the Congress VP.

Despite not releasing the manifesto, the BJP has been pretty vocal about some promises to the people of Gujarat. The Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani in October said that their new garment policy will target investments worth Rs 20,000 crore and create about one lakh new jobs. The government also announced setting up of 16 Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estates in a bid to attract over 15,000 MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) with a cumulative investment of Rs 19,650 crore. These industrial estates were claimed to create over one lakh jobs in the coming years.

But vocal promises are just for the ears and cannot be directly quoted in case of any complaint or accountability. The real motive of a manifesto is that the political party is directly responsible for the work it has promised and can be accounted for. The real outcome of this no show/delay of the manifesto of the BJP will be seen when the results of the Gujarat state assembly elections are announced, on 18th December.

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