AA Edit | BJP manifesto lists solid successes, ambitious plans

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

Prime Minister Modi holds himself accountable in the 76-page manifesto, outlining achievements and future plans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BJP National President JP Nadda release the party's election manifesto ‘Sankalp Patra’ for the Lok Sabha polls, at the party headquarters in New Delhi, Sunday, April 14, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

Almost setting a benchmark for any political party in creating a model manifesto while incumbent, the Bharatiya Janata Party released its Sankalp Patra for the upcoming Lok Sabha election wherein it combined a list of its achievements notched up during the last decade with ambitious plans for the next many years.

The 76-page document shows in easy bullet points the deeds of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government over its last two terms, and in his opening letter to citizens, Prime Minister Modi, while thanking the people for that opportunity, holds himself accountable and provides answers to the electorate on what he has done, adding a plea for continued support to assure that even bigger goals are reached.

A visually rich document, it begins with Mr Modi saying to all Indians, “…the fact that you have blessed me to be your Pradhan Sewak at an extremely important time in the history of our country inspired me to work even harder”.

The milestones crossed are no secret, but given a much-needed canvas of time — of a decade or two terms — “we have gone from a nation that was in the ‘Fragile Five’ to one of the top five economies of the world”. The manifesto also highlights how, during this decade, over 25 crore people have emerged out of poverty.

The party emphasises its philosophy of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and how this approach, as much as a macroeconomic transformation based on good governance and major reforms, including introduction of GST and massive food distribution for poor, has now inspired youth to aim for a Viksit Bharat.

Every item on the agenda has a very defining name, like Surakshit Bharat for security, in which, zero tolerance to terrorism, changes to the armed forces, reforms to IPC, and abrogation of Article 370, etc., are highlighted, and Kisan Samman Nidhi which focuses on direct financial assistance and agri-insurance.

The confidence of the BJP that it has something to offer to most sections of society is clearly reflected as in schemes and policy ideas for poor, youth, senior citizens, MSMEs, the middle classes, fisher folk and workers. Understandably, its biggest achievements, infrastructure and massive welfare schemes for housing, health and free rations, are shown as examples of not just what was done, but what can be done as well.

The future of India is significantly in focus not just in the short term of the next five years, but almost spanning the next quarter-century. Some headline-grabbing promises include making efforts to host the Olympics, piped gas supply for all, three crore new houses for poor and schemes to enrich women.

Interestingly, this is the first BJP manifesto without the promise of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, or the annulment of Article 370, those goals clearly having been checked. It still has controversial items, though, such as introduction of the uniform civil code and the One Nation, One Election system.

If manifestos win elections, the BJP would be a contender straightaway, but coming as it does a few days after the Congress document, it will only make the campaign that much more exciting. The electioneering will now go beyond agenda and promises. And the manifestos, themselves, might have lesser limelight.