Modifesto hardplays growth and underplays Temple Run
While focusing on five Ts — Trade, Tourism, Talent, Technology and Tradition — under the banner of ‘Ek Bharat, Shresht Bharat’ (One India, Excellent India) party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, head of the manifesto team, said: ‘It was aimed to revive Brand India.’ On economic and taxation policies, the document says it would rationalise the tax regime, end tax terrorism and introduce fiscal discipline without compromising on funds availability for development work and link schemes like MGNREGA to asset creation.
Putting focus on revival of economy, the manifesto has tried to catch the imagination of the people by announcing creation of 100 new cities. It also talks at length on inflation, corruption, development of infrastructure, education, agricultural boost with some clause on GM crops, Wi-fi in all public places and commercial areas, rights of persons with disability, additional tax benefits to senior citizens, reduction of burden of books on children and high-speed rail network.
The document talks about building good state-centre relationship and 33 per cent reservation for women in parliamentary and state assemblies. It reads: ‘Team India shall not be limited to the prime minister led team sitting in Delhi, but will also include chief ministers and other functionaries as equal partners.’ BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who was present during the manifesto release, said, ‘Good governance and inclusive development would dominate my agenda. I will do nothing for myself. I will do nothing out of ill-intent.’ He said, ‘I promise that I will leave no stone unturned to accomplish what is being promised. I promise I will never do anything for myself, I will never be vindictive.’ The party has promised a low-cost housing programme to give every family a home within a decade and special attention on women’s empowerment in its manifesto.
Addressing its core constituency, the manifesto says it would start a discussion on Article 370 and promised the return of Kashmiri Pandits with ‘dignity’ to the Valley. It also addressed issues arising out of the division of Andhra Pradesh but ignored the issue of special status to Bihar and west Bengal.
On security issues, the manifesto promises to set up a separate ‘Himalayan Regiment’ to save the Himalayas. There will be a dedicated fund (Himalaya Sustainability Fund) for the purpose and experts will be roped in for their suggestions to make this initiative a great success. Also, a central university dedicated to Himalayan Technology will be set up.
On minorities, the party decided to go by the mantra – Sabha Saath, Sabka Vikas (All together and development for all). It, however, separately emphasised on the modernization of Madrasas with equal opportunity to minorities. While elaborating more on the initiative, Joshi said, ‘Only concentrating on religious studies is not enough. Students in Madrasas should deserve to adopt the digital culture, strong science and technology for their bright future.’
The issue of Ram Temple has been put under the cultural agenda and the document promises to ‘explore all the possibilities within the framework of the constitution to facilitate the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.’ On health care, the party manifesto says the government would set-up AIIMS like super-specialty hospitals in all the states.
On foreign policies, it reads, ‘Strengthen regional forum like SAARC, ASEAN and expanding and empowering pool of diplomats deployed across the world. Continue to engage with BRICS, G20, IBSA, SEO and ASEM.’