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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Promises to everyone: the BJP Manifesto

Having blogged earlier on the CPI-M Manifesto and that of the Congress , I decided to read the rather longish BJP Manifesto (download here) too and blog on the same.

If you only read the preamble to the BJP Manifesto by Prof. MM Joshi, you would think this is some kind of a book on glory of Indian history, just about every piece of information that has been researched, documented earlier and recycled in the web in the last few years including a supposed speech by Macaulay in the British Parliament (this supposed speech has especially been recycled on the web for long, I could not find the source for this) have found its way to this introduction. Very impressive and could well pass of as a scholarly note, perhaps it is one.

However, none of this seems to have been read by the astute journalists who put together the remaining part of the manifesto. There are very interesting things, I particularly liked the part about saying no to GM seeds and producing 20% renewable energy. There are quite a few populist measures, including low cost supply of food, increasing the ceiling for Income Tax, sops for the farmers and elders, etc. 

The bunch of technocrats who have contributed to this seem to be rather heavily drawn from the Information Technology sector, so, while there is too much of detailing on the part of IT based ideas and plans, there is hardly any mention of technology related solutions in any other field or how it would impact other areas. IT obsession seems to be a pre-occupation of the Manifesto team.

The foreign policy is rather elaborate as is the security related issues. The Ram Sethu, Ram Mandir, etc. and other BJP mainstay (as one would think they will be) are appended to the manifesto as an after thought without connecting elsewhere in the manifesto.

As a manifesto, this one covers a wide variety of issues and perhaps has had the advantage of larger team of contributors than either that of Congress or that of the CPM. But, the question on BJP is not about its literary ability, it is about the rank and file and what are the 'identities' (the identity work crops up rather frequently in their manifesto) they own upto? Obviously, though there are sections (rather carefully worded one at that) on Minorities and a para on holding inter-faith dialogue with the Vatican on conversion, there is no reference to attacks on minorities and their protection.

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