Prime Minister Narendra Modi released Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto on Monday at the BJP headquarter in Delhi, in the presence of all the prominent and senior BJP leaders including BJP Chief Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the head of the Manifesto committee.
The “Sankalp Patra” (the manifesto) makes 75 pledges and promises to be fulfilled by the party in their next term. Calling the manifesto as a “vision document”, the party has claimed to keep it’s focus on the issues like Zero Tolerance towards terrorism, implementing the Uniform Civil Code, National Security, construction of Ram Mandir, farmer welfare, Article 370, etc.
The highlights of the manifesto released by BJP on Monday are delineated below:
Zero Tolerance approach towards Terrorism
Rajnath Singh, the Manifesto Committee head, spoke about Zero Tolerance approach towards terrorism. He reiterated the manifesto’s core focus on eliminating terrorists and terrorism on the Indian soil. “Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only. This is exemplified by the Surgical Strikes and the Air Strikes carried out recently. We will continue our policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security forces in combating terrorism.” stated the BJP Manifesto.
Uniform Civil Code
The manifesto included the very controversial provision of UCC (Uniform Civil Code). It is through the UCC that the BJP plans to bring each citizen of the country under one similar civil code, abolishing religion based civil code. “Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draw a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with the modern times.” states the Manifesto.
Infiltration is a big threat to the country, and to resolve this major concern, BJP has assured the implementation of Nation Register of Citizens (NRC) across the nation. “There has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration, resulting in an adverse impact on local people’s livelihood and employment. We will expeditiously complete the National Register of Citizens process in these areas on priority. In future we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country,” read the manifesto.
It continued stating, “We will continue to undertake effective steps to prevent illegal immigration in the North eastern states. For this, we will further strengthen our border security. A pilot project on the use of technology to strengthen border security (Smart Fencing) was implemented in Dhubri (Assam). We will implement this on all border.”
The nucleus of the manifesto was the expeditious construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. BJP has assured to explore all possible means to expedite the construction of Ram Mandir within the diameter of constitution. “We reiterate our stand on Ram Mandir. We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary eos to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.” stated the manifesto.
The world saw PM Modi’s action while countering Pulwama terrorists attack by signalling complete freedom to Indian forces to retaliate. The air strike at Balakot of Pakistan, ushered by PM Modi, showed the world the power of India. “Strengthening our Armed Forces – We will speed up the purchases of outstanding defense related equipments and weapons. In order to equip the Armed Forces with modern equipment, we will continue to take focused steps to strengthen the strike capability of the Armed Forces,” read the statement in the manifesto.
“In order to ensure self-reliance in procurement of defence equipment, we have taken several effective steps in the last five years. For instance, the most modern AK-203 automatic rifles are being manufactured at Amethi under our ‘Make in India in Defence’ initiative. We are committed to focus on ‘Make in India in Defence’ to enable indigenous production of defence equipment. This will also generate employment and encourage investment in the defence sector” states the Manifesto.
The manifesto also zoomed at how the party encourages higher education in the country. “We will take all necessary steps to increase the number of seats in Central Law, Engineering, Science and Management institutions by at least 50% in the next five years. We will also motivate States to accordingly increase the number of seats in State institutions.” outlined the manifesto.
The manifesto also speaks on how the BJP is planning to implement simultaneous elections across the country. “We are committed to the idea of simultaneous elections for Parliament, State assemblies and local bodies to reduce expenditure, ensure efficient utilisation of government resources and security forces and for effective policy planning. We will try to build consensus on this issue with all parties.” states the Manifesto.
Emphasizing on availing 24×7 electricity in every part of the nation, the BJP reiterated that villages have been provided with electricity connections and that it will continue it’s work to electrify the remaining villages in the nation. “We had made a commitment to provide 24×7 electricity to all and the country has substantially attained the goal. All remaining villages have been electrified. Similarly, almost all remaining households have been provided with an electricity connection. Thus, we are near completion of our promise in a record time. We will further work towards completing any unfinished task in this regard.” highlighted the BJP Manifesto.
Railways & Roadways
The manifesto emphasized that all the mode of transport which includes railways and roadways will be expanded for provided more convenience to the people. “We will ensure conversion of all viable rail tracks to broad gauge by 2022.
We will make all efforts to ensure electrification of all railway tracks by 2022.” read the manifesto. “In continuation to our existing milestone of constructing roads at an unprecedented pace, we will construct 60,000 kms of National Highways in the next five years
We will double the length of National Highways by 2022,” added the manifesto.
Welfare of Farmers
The ruling party, BJP, then spoke on the farmers’ welfare scheme to boost the betterment of farmers. Emphasizing on how the party plans to support farmers by provided financial assistance at a lower rate of interest and other benefits. “We have launched Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana to ensure financial support to farmers owning land up to 2 hectares. We will further expand the coverage of the scheme to all the farmers in the country.,” highlighted the Manifesto. It then spoke on the pension scheme for the farmers. “We will launch a pension scheme for all small and marginal farmers in the country so as to ensure social security to them on reaching 60 years of age,” stated the manifesto. The saffron party then highlighted how it plans to provide financial assistance to farmers at as low as 0% interest rate. “We will provide short-term new agriculture loans up to Rs. 1 lakh at a 0% interest rate for 1-5 years on the condition of prompt repayment of the principal amount.” read the manifesto.
Jammu and Kashmir- Article 370
The most controversial article in the Jammu and Kashmir state, is also a part of BJP’s manifesto. The manifesto assures in it’s statement to annul the Article 35A and Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir after it is voted in power again. “We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.” read the statement in the manifesto.