BJP’s manifesto

Old wine, served with caution

With three days to go for the first phase of polling in General Election 2019, the people have got a glimpse of what the BJP proposes to deliver if voted to power again. Having cut a sorry figure during its current stint regarding certain promises held out in the last election of 2014 — prominently the bringing back of black money stashed abroad and depositing Rs 15 lakh in every person’s account — with a lame ‘jumla’ excuse, the party has this time cautiously committed to endeavouring to fulfil its pledges within the ambit of the Constitution.

The BJP’s vote pitch expectedly revolves around the theme of nationalism that Modi has played in his tenure to sway the masses. Betting on the emotions generated around the surgical and Balakot strikes, the party manifesto (‘Sankalp Patra’, as it christens it) puts national security on a high pedestal, pledging a higher defence spending. By harping on the age-old Ram temple issue, reiterating its stand on the recent row over the Sabarimala shrine and vowing to extend the NRC register across the nation, it aims to bank on the much-used ‘Hindutva card’. It remains to be seen if the old wine is still heady enough for the discerning voter. Drawing on faith are also the framing of a uniform civil code and the triple talaq law as well as ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits. But realising the complications involved in removing Article 370, it has now settled on removing Article 35(A).

However, while there is no talk of ‘achhe din’, it is the BJP’s outlook on socio-economic matters that is likely to influence the common voter. The document showcases welfare measures designed to tilt the balance towards the beleaguered party facing anti-incumbency. The commitment to invest Rs 25 lakh crore in the agri-rural sector attractively ensures a rosy future to the farmers. The business class has been dangled the carrot of focus on entrepreneurship and startups. The promises of 33 per cent quota to women and enhanced budget for the education field are welcome steps as the Modi sarkar has failed to give them their due. Over to the voter now.

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