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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The BJP MANIFESTO

Hopes Belied

BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have been carrying on the onslaught on the
Congress and UPA for months on now, on the planks of development model, governance, corruption, etc. Though the propaganda in most cases has been barren of any facts, they have been avoiding any overtly communal propaganda.

Also Modi and many other BJP stalwarts like Rajnath Singh were making sound bites that gave the impression that the divisive agendas of Ram Mandir, Article 370,Uniform Civil Code and such other issues will not be raked up this time round and instead they would concentrate on other important mundane issues . 

Yet, the expectations have been belied and all those divisive agendas are back in focus through their Manifesto.

Importance of Manifestos

It's true that in India, the outcome of the elections is not traditionally decided on the basis of the strength of the Manifestos. However, with the movement against corruption drawing many educated middle class into politics, there is general interest in the Manifestos of different political parties. That may be one of the reasons that Political parties have taken more care and time in drafting their manifestos this time.

Significance of the Hindutva Agenda in the Manifesto

The inclusion of these agendas in the Manifesto gives BJP a justification to rake them up, should the 'need' arise, at a later stage.

These issues were there in their earlier Manifestos also. Nevertheless, for those who thought that Modi and BJP have changed now, as, for them, their(BJP's) main goal now is merely the development of India, and the past should not be raked up unnecessarily, this should be a shock. 

By taking up these Hindutva issues, BJP has once again proved that they could not get clear of the communal agenda. These, along with the hate messages across the social media, the campaign style of Amit Sha etc.,the reluctance of Modi to express regret, are clear warning signals for the figure of things to occur. 

The secular forces being splintered, with the media and corporate fully backing the BJP and its PM candidate, the stage seems to be set for the takeover of India by the Communal forces.

Review on policy on Use of Nuclear Weapons

The Manifesto promises to review the long held Indian position of  'not the first to use nuclear weapons'. This will not give India any advantage other than negatively drawing the International attention. It must be understood, that the issues with Pakistan and China cannot be solved through nuclear weapons. What is required is to take all measures to settle the issues with the neighbours through dialogue and allow a peaceful atmosphere to prevail in the country and the region. Given today's balance of forces and geostrategic consideration, it is not possible to win a nuclear war by any country. 

However, it may be safely assumed that once in power, the BJP may be expected to behave more responsibly with the neighbors as happened during the NDA regime. Then, Vajpayee went to Pakistan, shook hands with Musharraf, and addressed a joint conference. There were reports of Kashmir issue being closer to have been resolved. On many fronts, the relationship started improving between India and Pakistan from that time.

FDI in Retail

The Manifesto promises to be more investor friendly and wants FDI in all sectors other than in Retail. The strange aspect is that even in Defence, FDI would be allowed. This has nothing to do with the country's economic needs. The National Direct Investment in Retail is going on for more than 10 years now.There are no data available about the impact it had on employment and on the small traders.

Other issues

India is a capitalist country and the ruling classes are attempting to build capitalism on a semi-feudal society. In this, there is not much difference between the major political parties the BJP and the Indian National Congress. The emphasis and the details may vary. 

Bullet Trains. AIIMSs, New Cities, etc are all different versions of the Capitalist development agenda. How the party chose to mobiles resources for its various projects makes the difference between a pro-people policy and the pro-rich policy. In this, they won't be any better than Manmohan Singh.. In this, the Cong/BJP are sailing on the same boat, where as the Left has a different take.







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