News18 Daybreak | BJP Releases its 'Sankalp Patra' for Lok Sabha 2019 Polls and Other Stories to Watch Out For

Apr 09, 2019, 04:09 AM

What to Watch Out For

With just two days to go for the first phase of polls, the BJP on Monday released its much awaited-manifesto titled ‘Sankalpit Bharat, Sashakt Bharat’, which promised to deliver on 75 promises for the 75 years of Independence.

The saffron party led with nationalism as its top priority in the elections manifesto, with PM Narendra Modi even stressing that “nationalism is our inspiration” at the launch event.

The event on Monday was attended by the party’s top brass including BJP president Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot.

Manifesto promises: Drafted by a 12-members committee led by Rajnath Singh, the 45-page document lists out several of the party’s poll promises which begin with the issue of National security.

Highlighting their intent to adopt a “zero-tolerance approach to terrorism”, the party says it will give a free hand to the security forces in dealing with terrorism. The other measures that the party has listed around this issue deals with the strengthening and modernisation of the armed forces, combating infiltration and reinforcing border security.

Unlike the Congress’ pointed income guarantee scheme – the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), which promises to give 20 per cent of the poorest families Rs72000, the saffron party only said that it would be giving every farmer an annual income of Rs 6000.

On the issue of farmer welfare, the party has also promised to double farmer’s incomes by 2022, a pension scheme for the small and the marginal farmers and Rs 25 lakh crore investment in the agri-rural sector. Although there is no mention of a loan waiver scheme, the party promises to give interest free loans for 1-5 years.

In a surprise move, the BJP in its poll manifesto has said that it will implement the Citizenship Amendment Bill if voted to power. This comes despite, the party’s leaders including Shah and Modi leaving out a mention of the contentious issue during the rally addresses in the Northeastern states in the previous weeks. In its manifesto, the party reaffirmed its position to render protection to only “Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries” and grant them citizenship.

A bigger controversy was sparked over the party’s promise to abrogate Article 370, which gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and Article 35-A of the Constitution, which provides special rights and privileges to the state’s “permanent residents”. According to the manifesto, this scrapping of this article was justified as it stood in the way of the government’s efforts towards development, security and equality in the state.

In its 'Sankalp Patra', the party also promises to “explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya”.

Interestingly, despite the issue of high unemployment rates remaining at the forefront of many debates this elections season, the party did not explicitly mention jobs in its manifesto. The poll manifesto only encloses a new scheme to provide collateral-free credit up to 50 lakh entrepreneurs.

He said she said: Soon after the BJP released its manifesto, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah hit out at the party saying, “They talk of abrogating Article 370. If you do that, the accession will also not stand. I think this is the wish of Almighty, we will get freedom from them”

Congress and Aam Admi Party also ridiculed the party over a gaffe in one of its manifesto promises for women. Congress shared the screen shot of one of the points in the BJP manifesto wherein it was written,” "Women's security will be given more priority. We have constituted the Women's Security Division in the Home Ministry, and have made strict provisions for transferring the l...