Manifestos: Walking The Talk - Eastern Mirror
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Manifestos: Walking the Talk

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 09, 2024 11:50 pm

The Indian National Congress has released its manifesto ahead of the crucial general elections to the 18th Lok Sabha, which is just days away, while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to do so. The Internet may have drastically changed the mode of communication, the manner of campaigning and dissemination of information over the years but the significance of the election manifesto remains the same as it reflects the vision and approach of a political party towards governance, being the policy blueprint. The Congress manifesto for the 2024 general election, titled Nyay Patra (Document for Justice), which was released last week, promises big, ranging from new schemes to reversing what the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had done since it came to power in 2014. Out of more than 20 guarantees, the significant ones included conducting a nationwide socio-economic and caste census, raising the 50 percent cap on reservations for SC, ST and OBC communities, a legal guarantee to minimum support prices, the right to a one-year apprenticeship of INR 1 lakh annual stipend to students below the age of 25, cashless insurance of up to INR 25 lakh under a universal health scheme, fixing the national minimum wage at INR 400 per day, a cash transfer of INR 1 lakh per year to every poor family under the Mahalakshmi scheme and filling nearly 30 lakh vacancies in sanctioned posts (Centre). The grand old party also promised to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and scrap the Agnipath Scheme initiated by the BJP-led NDA government, among others.

Despite remaining silent on pressing issues like the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Congress has managed to grab public attention through its manifesto centred around inclusivity, equitable growth and social justice, with a focus on women, students and the less privileged. The manifesto is no doubt ambitious and bold. However, it won’t be easy to implement, especially with the financial packages promised for women, students and others. Identifying the rightful beneficiaries will be a herculean task, even if the financial burden it may place on the government is overlooked. Moreover, such strategies won’t address the main issue, though it will bring immediate relief to many. One should remember that an election manifesto is not just to wow the voters but also a responsibility. Despite the risk of facing backlash, the BJP proclaimed while notifying the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that it had fulfilled another promise made in its 2019 election manifesto- the other significant promises being the construction of Ram Temple and the abrogation of Article 370. It did so for a reason. By doing so, the saffron party has made a political statement ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections that it walks the talk. It is pertinent for all political parties, be it BJP or Congress, to check feasibility and practicality before making tall promises. False promises won’t help anybody.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 09, 2024 11:50:11 pm
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