Election Manifestos:  Populism Versus Pragmatism - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Election Manifestos:  Populism Versus Pragmatism

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 08, 2024 12:10 am

The core of every election manifesto is bound to be welfare and development as the document is meant to woo the electorate for good showing at the hustings. So, political parties leave no stone unturned to lure maximum number of voters in their favour by promising to get rid of the issues that are hurting the people most. But in the quest of wooing voters more often than not the parties promise too much to the people, without thinking about the practicality of such promises which then affects their credibility. This is why election manifestos in India have now largely been reduced to just another piece of paper instead of being a compilation of the party’s vision with far reaching significance.

With the Indian general election just around the corner, most major political parties, barring the ruling BJP have released their manifestos making a wide range of  promises to the electorate. A close scrutiny of these manifestoes will reveal though they are good for rhetoric, implementation of many promises will be problematic. For instance, after publishing the draft of its election manifesto with 25 guarantees, Congress, the century-old party, has finally released its manifesto. In the manifesto, the party has made huge commitments on loan waivers and minimum support price (MSP) and promised to follow the recommendations of M. S. Swaminathan committee which has proposed that MSP should be fixed after adding 50 per cent more to the production cost. It should be noted that the National Commission on Farmers headed by renowned agriculture scientist M. S. Swaminathan had submitted its report in October, 2006. If the recommendations of the said commission is yet to be implemented, it is because of lack of unanimity on MSP as it will make a heavy dent on the country’s exchequer. This has refrained various governments, which had come to power since 2006, from taking a final decision on the recommendations of the commission. Even the Congress-led coalition government which was in power for two terms during the said period did little to implement the commission’s report.

More maturity was expected from the grand old party of India which is working to reestablish its connection with the people after being snubbed by the electorate on a number of occasions since 2014. Over the years, the support base of the party has been eroded to the extent that the party is now fighting to prevent extinction from the national political scene. Under these circumstances, it was expected that the party would make promises that could be easily implemented instead of affecting the country’s financial health. But in its enthusiasm to remain a step ahead of its main rival BJP which has earned the wrath of the farmers for not complying to their MSP demand, the party has made the promise. Although the Congress has made various other promises to win the youth, women and marginalised sections of society, the party has quite strangely remained completely mum on burning issues like CAA, Article 370, old pension scheme, etc. It appears that the party has missed the opportunity to address these pertinent issues. However, with the BJP yet to release it’s manifesto, only time will tell which manifesto the Indian electorate most aligns with.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 08, 2024 12:10:07 am
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