Eyes on BJP manifesto, but party not very enthusiastic

The BJP promises to release its manifesto soon but its record in the recent times show that the party is not very enthused about the exercise. (Reuters File Photo)

All eyes will now be on the BJP on what it will do to counter the promises made by the Congress, which has marched a step ahead with the release of its manifesto.

The BJP promises to release its manifesto soon but its record in the recent times show that the party is not very enthused about the exercise.

In 2014, the BJP had released the manifesto only on the first day of nine-phase polling on April 7 while during the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017, it was released on December 8, only a day before the first phase of polling.

On Tuesday, within hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi released his party's manifesto promising minimum income for the poor, farmers' wealth and job creation, BJP fielded its senior leader Arun Jaitley, who attacked some Congress' ideas as "positively dangerous" that will lead to "Balkanisation of India".

Since Narendra Modi assumed the leadership of the BJP, the emphasis on manifestos has been on the decline.

Its decision to launch the manifesto on the first polling day during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and a day before voting in Gujarat has prompted the Election Commission this time to issue an order that no party can release its manifesto within 48 hours of polling during the seven phases.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is heading the Manifesto committee this time and had initiated an exercise to crowdsource inputs. There are also plans to bring out a report card on the Modi government's fulfilment of promises, which sources claimed had 520 out of 549 assurances given in the 2014 manifesto.

BJP leaders said the party manifesto would have 12 broad themes including agriculture, Dalits, tribals and infrastructure development.

While the Congress had created a buzz around its manifesto in the run-up to its release, the BJP, which is known for utilising every opportunity to be in the limelight, had not used this route though initially it had launched the exercise with much fanfare.

Gandhi himself had kept the exercise in the limelight by periodically talking about what would form part of the manifesto. Last month, he spoke about the inclusion of minimum income guarantee scheme in the manifesto, scrapping of NITI Aayog, increased spending on health and education and job creation among other things.

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Eyes on BJP manifesto, but party not very enthusiastic

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