The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday released its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The manifesto was released by party chief Amit Shah in New Delhi, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The manifesto set 75 goals the party wants to achieve by 2022, the 75th year of Indian independence. It focused on Jammu and Kashmir, Ram temple, terrorism, farmer incomes and the National Register of Citizens, among other things.
The manifesto promised zero tolerance for terrorism and said the BJP will continue to give security forces a “free hand” to deal with terrorists. “We will strengthen the strike capability of the armed forces by equipping them with modern equipment,” the manifesto read. “Besides, we will take effective steps to prevent illegal immigration in the Northeastern states.”
The 45-page manifesto also set out a roadmap for Jammu and Kashmir. It promised to abrogate Article 35, commitment to annul Article 35 A, ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley and provide financial assistance to refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the manifesto, for the first time, has goals for 2022 instead of 2024, so that “we can be tested against our promises during the tenure also”. “I have had to do in five years the work that should have been done in the last 50-60 years,” he said.
Before the manifesto was unveiled, Shah claimed that the years from 2014-’19 will be considered a golden period in the history of India. “Today, there is electricity in most homes in India,” he said. “There are over eight crore toilets, in over seven crore homes there are gas connections, 50 crore poor have been offered free medical treatment. India was the 11th largest economy in the world in 2014, today we are sixth and soon to be the 5th largest.”
The BJP chief claimed that the Narendra Modi-led government has taken over 50 historic decisions in the last five years. “People’s hopes have now turned into expectations,” he said.
The first of seven phases of voting will take place on Thursday, covering 91 constituencies across 20 states. The last phase of voting is scheduled for May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23.
Highlights from the manifesto
- To continue policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism and to continue giving a “free hand” to security forces in combating terrorism.
- Strengthening armed forces by speeding up purchases of outstanding defence related equipment.
- “Expeditiously complete” the National Register of Citizens and implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country.
- Undertake steps to prevent illegal immigration in northeastern states.
- Enact the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to protect individuals of religious minority communities from neighbouring countries escaping persecution.
- Combat left wing extremism.
- Abrogation of Article 370 and annulling Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Explore possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and take necessary steps to expedite construction of Ram Temple.
- Ensure that “subject of faith, tradition and worship rituals” related to Sabarimala are presented in a comprehensive manner before theSupreme Court.
- Expand Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana to all farmers, pension for small and marginal farmers.
- Reduce the poverty rate in India to below 10% by 2024.
- To make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and $10 trillion by 2032.