Opinion

Did the BJP need to print a new manifesto in 2019?

I believe the BJP leaders have tried to save on printing costs by just reprinting the cover of the 2014 manifesto with a little bit of omission and commission

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Tathagata Bhattacharya

Honestly, the delay in the release of the BJP’s manifesto for the 2019 general election filled me with an anticipation that the leading party of the ruling NDA coalition would come up with somewhat of a response to the Indian National Congress’ extremely comprehensive and exhaustive manifesto. To say the least, BJP’s document for 2019 is a big disappointment, nearly as disappointing as its five-year rule.

Honestly, I believe the BJP leaders have tried to save on printing costs by just reprinting the cover of the 2014 manifesto with a little bit of omission and commission.

Look at the promises: Ram Mandir will be built. Yes, we have been hearing that since 1992. Article 370 and Article 35A will be scrapped. Just look up the 2014 manifesto. And never forget the promised Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Farmer’s income is to be doubled by 2022, the 2019 document parrots the same outlandish target marked out in 2014. How, nobody knows. Farm income has registered its lowest growth under the Modi rule in 15 years and will need a 14 per cent year on year growth to reach the stated target. As of last year, it was less than two per cent.

The promise of housing for all, i.e. pucca houses for all by 2022 is a direct lift from the 2014 manifesto too.

Flop schemes like Make in India and Skill India which have failed at take-off stages also creep their way from the pages of the 2014 document into those of 2019. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme has been mentioned again, 56 per cent of the allocations for which went into publicity and advertisements in the last five years. Will they raise that to 80 per cent if they are voted back to power? Your guess is as good as mine.

However, there are some crucial omissions. There are no 2 crore jobs promised this time. This time, there are no concrete announcement of how the BJP government wants to generate jobs. NSSO data shows that unemployment is at a 45-year- high but the BJP and Narendra Modi believe that India does not have a job crisis at all. Who needs jobs when you have the BJP IT Cell?

There are no 100 smart cities mentioned too. Did the cities come up and vanish into the thin air? However, there is mention of an investment of ₹100 lakh crore in infrastructure. What’s the BJP’s fascination with this figure of ‘100’? Difficult to say but the answer most likely lies in Vedic numerology.

And the mythological Bullet Train also does not find any mention. It is such a big disappointment. The Modi government could not buy bullet-proof jackets for our jawans but had promised its shining urban cheerleaders a grand joyride. Don’t tell me that was a jumla too.

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