This is probably the only election in contemporary politics where a national party, one that is widely tipped to become single largest party, is going into polls without a manifesto. Sixteenth Lok Sabha elections starts today and BJP hasn’t declared a manifesto to people of India. Given that manifesto in Indian elections is only of cosmetic value and no one takes it seriously, neither the promising parties nor the people, once election day passes. Still, to face elections without offering one is either saying that party has nothing to offer to the people or accepting that think-tank in the party is mentally bankrupt.
This is despite the fact that prime ministerial candidate of the party, Mr. Narendra Modi, has been in non-stop campaign across the country for the almost last one year. His campaign team came up with very many ‘creative’ slogans comparing Modi to Mahadev and replaced party with his name virtually everywhere except renaming the party after him but couldn’t set aside few days to offer their vision for the nation for next five years.
What is worse is the way spokesperson and leaders of the party defended this: “Modi is the manifesto!”. In essence, people of the country should simply believe in Modi to do the “right thing” without going into the details of what and how he will do it. He will just do it. This is shameful even for Indian political standards. BJP has promised to release it on Apr 7th however it is yet to be seen how things pan out given that backbiting is the name of the game in their camp.
Compare this to Soni Sori, an adivasi activist and school teacher, Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from Bastar, has released her manifesto in a thousand rupee judicial stamp and has asked people to take her to court if she fails to deliver on any of her promises. This must be first of its kind action for any politician to virtually set their manifesto in stone. Similarly, S.P Udaykumar, environmentalist and anti-nuclear activist contesting from Kanyakumari has released a detailed list of promises that he will do as MP apart from regular constituency needs.
— Aam Aadmi Party (@AamAadmiParty) April 4, 2014
This should shame all other established parties and push them to take the manifesto little more seriously. India is changing fast and the young generation is taking more active interest in politics. They don’t forget nor forgive. If leading parties keep up their merry old ways, they will be shown doors very soon.
By Somu Kumar
N.B. This article was submitted prior to the BJP Manifesto being declared – the gist is still valid