With battle of ballots getting more intense from this week, the nation will anxiously wait for the results on 16th of May, the day will decide the fate of country for the next 5 years. 2014 general elections is proven to be the most interesting reality show the country has ever seen. Social media boom and innovative campaigns from political parties has captured the imagination of the youth brigade which will play a decisive role in this election. Political circle, already bloated with Congress and BJP and strings of small regional parties is shaken by the stunning emergence of AAP in Delhi assembly elections and calculating its impact on these elections. India, already knocking at the world forum with an eye on becoming a military, economic and knowledge superpower needs a strong government to accelerate the growth with inclusive development of each and every Indian citizen. With the aim on all these things the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), which is tipped to form next government in the country, finally released its manifesto. Congress has already released its manifesto in the last week of March. Now, the voters will be able to go through both parties’ poll promises and decide who will be better for the future of the country, before using their right to vote.
At the time of releasing the Congress manifesto, incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “We envision an inclusive society, a rapidly expanding economy in which growth benefits all sections of our society and we want to generate lot more new jobs to provide for the youth of the country.” This statement of the prime minister gives an indication how the youth has captured the imagination of the political parties across India. Congress manifesto made it clear that the party was looking forward to luring the youth of India into its fold by promising new jobs, and the main thrust will be on growth that benefits all sections of society. But the Congress manifesto has serious flaws in it. For instance, it talks about providing quality healthcare and functional toilets which are every citizen’s basic rights. While ruling India for the last sixty years, the Congress has done almost nothing to provide these rights to its citizenry and it is asking for one more term at the Centre to implement them. While its last 10 years rule has seen major job cuts, its manifesto is boasting of ensuring 10 crore new jobs. Admitting finally that economic growth has gone down drastically, the Congress manifesto says it will keep an eye on production to bring back the economic growth. Promising eight per cent growth within hundred days of forming government is a bit tall promise to make. It will eventually lead to imposing more taxes upon the middle class, which is already reeling under the high inflation rate for the last decade. The overall focus of Congress manifesto is on providing freebies to the people. Freebies such as economic security to the low economic families, special focus on the labours working in hazardous conditions, providing fixed pensions to senior citizen and disables, creates doubt on the promise of eight per cent growth. Another major aspect of the Congress’s poll manifesto is that it has many rights imbedded in it, which Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi is emphasising in his rallies. The Congress manifesto is in real sense ‘a la Rahul’. The visions of Rahul are at the core of the manifesto.
The BJP’s poll manifesto titled ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat- Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ which was released earlier this week has development at its core. It promises to tackle price rise, generate employment opportunities and end corruption. Quite emphatically, it promises to bring back the black money, end policy paralysis at the central level and promises to improve relations and co-ordinations between the states and the Centre.
The BJP’s manifesto has Moditva all over it. Narendra Modi’s experience in the development of Gujarat is reflected in the manifesto. The thrust of the manifesto is on industrialization and labour, which will help in taking the country forward. BJP’s poll manifesto promises good governance and system reform, which is the need of the hour. Revival of the economy and doing away with complex taxation system in the country is the main area where BJP promises to work diligently. Crating India as a brand in world is given a mention in the manifesto. India’s vast potential as a tourist hub also finds its place in this manifesto, which the BJP-led government at the centre will look to leverage. . The transport infrastructure and the rail network too will receive facelifts to make travel fast and connect far flung areas with the main areas.
Terming the decade long rule of Congress as ‘ decade of decay’ the manifesto underlines the fact that India under Congress rule had a ‘ free fall’ on all fronts, including governance, economy, diplomacy, foreign policy, internal security etc. major attraction of the BJP’s manifesto is that it does not promises any freebies. Knowing that there are no free meals in this world, stress has been put on creation of jobs and skill development of the people of the country. Contentious issues like Ram temple, abrogation of Article 370, Uniform Civil Code are also included in the manifesto, but are toned down for obvious reasons. The focus of the BJP’s manifesto was on five T’s—talent, tourism, trade, tradition and technology. The stress of the BJP’s manifesto is on development and good governance in the country. Its nation-first approach and the concept of the universal brotherhood will appeal to the masses of the country. While the Congress’s manifesto promises over- dependence on the government for everything. And it aims at encouraging poverty by promoting the culture of freebies at the taxpayers’ expenses, which every regional party has emulated and led to draining of national treasury. The two manifestos reflect two different mind sets. The voters have their task cut out for them at a time when the second round of polling has already begun. That said, the result of the elections will surely have long term repercussions on future of the country.
By Nilabh Krishna