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TMC's mandate

TMCs mandate

Actions speak louder than words. Governance surmounted on this age-old catchphrase would pitch the country's progress on an exponential graph and catapult it towards its ambition of being a superpower. Of course, at the grassroots of governance, each bit contributes significantly to the overall aim. When Mamata pioneered the United India Rally and announced the opposition alliance to take on the ruling BJP in a bid to "save democracy", it was welcomed with applause and criticism alike. This country has for long witnessed hollow promises, with visionary manifestos falling short of its calibre and the voted representatives rallying around numbered achievements to cement their reputation as progressive and visionary statesmen; the empty rhetorics of development paraded over the severely mismatched on-ground picture. However, with the glaring ambiguity of policies and initiatives brought forth by the current dispensation amidst outright controversies, an alliance of the opposition parties was not a far-fetched dream anyway. Mamata's initiative to invite opposition leaders was an outcry revolving around the distortions that have plagued the largest democracy of the world. Her bold ambition to oust BJP reached a consensus with those who wanted the same and thus began the promise, once again, to present a better government to this country. The Trinamool Congress released its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, drawing sharp contrast from its 2014 version – which predominantly dealt with state issues. The manifesto, through its vivid promises and a comprehensive vision, stresses on the issues of the whole nation instead of being exclusive to West Bengal – TMC's bastion. It matches the enthusiasm brought forth by Mamata in the United India Rally and strictly condemns BJP for its various failures across the five-year term. Compounded by empty rhetorics amidst overadvertised expected progress, the current dispensation launched a plethora of schemes, as promised, but fell short on the implementation part. TMC's manifesto, divided into 4 parts, reads out an appeal from Mamata to the people, an account of failures and misrule in 5 years under the Modi government, party's mandate to the people and lastly, the examples of good (or expected) governance in West Bengal in the last seven years under TMC. Mamata evokes the conscience of all the people and brings Modi's autocratic approach to light in a rather expected way. Though TMC's manifesto, like any other party manifesto, would become mere words if lacklustre governance follows. But, her credibility standing tall on the hindsight of Bengal's holistic development might just convince people and garner support towards her national ambition. Citing the downfalls in the last five years, the manifesto categorically lists the glaring failures. Acute farm distress with sharply low agricultural growth in terms of GDP, rampant corruption under Rafale, crippled economy due to double whammy by demonetisation and hastily-implemented GST, weak banking sector owing to mounting NPAs, severely rising unemployment, et al. Statistics citing a decline in investment growth, FDI, etc., further aggravate the picture. Apart from discussing the Modi government failures, the manifesto serves a contrasting mandate to the people with employment generation brought under the limelight. Mamata's bid for generating employment rests on the development of industries, agriculture, etc., existing areas which host a great potential for employment but have never been categorically exploited for the same. TMC's model for growth with employment by focussing on agriculture and allied activities, manufacturing industry and MSME's is capable of reversing the unemployment trends. The call for developing a National Strategic Petroleum Reserve to stabilise petroleum prices highlights a focussed approach towards the vital sector of hydrocarbons. Development of e-governance to the best standards and setting up a monitoring structure of all Central government projects with tightened timelines of delivery to increase transparency and accountability of the government in the eyes of people. Targetting 100 per cent rural connectivity, covering 100 per cent of the population with safe drinking water, focus on the development of north-eastern states, construction of major highway corridors across the nation features in the manifesto. Novel promises such as setting up of National Tourism Initiative to give industry status to the tourism sector which is one of the most employment-intensive sectors, creating exclusive women's courts and a National Cultural Development Council. 200 working days under the MGNREGA, increased education expenditure, entrepreneurial development of youth, agrarian policies for the welfare of farmers, the revival of Planning Commission, etc., build Mamata's narrative for the LS polls and, as stated, target people from all corners of the nation by presenting a holistic development mandate. The manifesto is TMC's outcry to the people to realise and remember the hollow promises and lackadaisical governance from BJP, while urging them to instil hope in a better government which will bring forth novel ideas to the fray, catapulting India on a progressive track while keeping the welfare of its people as top priority.

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