National

BJP manifesto aims for the ‘right’ balance

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 08, 2019

PM Narendra Modi releasing the BJP manifesto in New Delhi   -  Kamal Narang

Party tries to marry cultural nationalism with welfarism; Oppn dubs document a jumla

Even as it stuck to its narrative of strident and combative nationalism, the BJP on Monday tried to embellish it with a heavy dose of welfarism by bringing out a manifesto that tried to address many of the socio-economic issues that have come to dominate the political discourse.

Called Sankalp Patra (document of resolutions), the manifesto was released by BJP’s star cast led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah, and senior leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.

Releasing the manifesto, the PM said “rashtravaad (nationalism), antyodaya (welfare of the poor) and sushasan (good governance)” are his guiding principles. The manifesto, however, began with a 10-point chapter titled “Nation First” that clubbed cultural nationalism and the BJP’s core ideological agenda of abrogating Article 370 and annulling Article 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir with surgical strikes in Pakistan. The ruling party promised to start a project called “Smart Fencing” on all the borders besides pushing through the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the National Register of Citizens as part of its national security agenda.

Along with its emphasis on national security and the party’s core ideological agenda, the BJP also introduced a heavy dose of welfarism, focussing on farmers and small traders. The Prime Minister said the next government’s duty will be to lay the foundation for 2047, the hundredth year of the country’s Independence.

The manifesto also promises pension for farmers, small traders and workers in the unorganised sector. The specifics of such schemes have not been shared. However, the manifesto said: “We will expand the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan scheme to cover all small shopkeepers.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the document was prepared not with a tukde tukde (divisive) mindset, but with a nationalistic perspective. The Opposition dismissed the 45-page document as a “jumla (farce)” , with the Congress saying it is full of contradictions.

“They say they will reduce taxes and at the same time they say they will increase tax collection. In reality, there is a significant shortfall in GST collection,” said Congress MP Rajeev Gowda.

Also read: Comparing 2014 & 2019 manifestoes of BJP

 

Published on April 08, 2019

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