BJP manifesto delayed, to be released on April 7

BJP was the first to announce its PM candidate and had meticulously planned the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, but the party — grappling with differences among top party leaders — would come out with its manifesto on April 7, the day when elections begin.

There were reports that differences between the Murli Manohar Joshi-led manifesto committee and BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi over the content of the document resulted in the delay. Sources, however, believed the delay would not be an embarrassment for the party.

The manifesto would be released in the presence of Modi on April 7 when people vote for six Lok Sabha seats in Assam and Tripura, and barely three days before 92 constituencies in 14 states and Union Territories, including Delhi, go for polls.

There has been speculation that the Modi camp felt a 50-page manifesto might not click with the masses and a concise version was needed, forcing a quick rework on the document. Rajendra Gupta, member of the core committee to draft the BJP’s manifesto, however, denied any difference of opinion in the party over its content and said that the document remained unchanged.

“There is no truth to this speculation,” Gupta said.

BJP leaders have cited scheduling issues as the reason for the delay, claiming that with the party’s top brass busy campaigning across the country, it was difficult to get them to share the dais on a single day for this important event.

While Joshi would be travelling to Kanpur for filing nomination on April 4, party president Rajnath Singh has been scheduled to file his papers in Lucknow on April 5. It was then agreed to hold the event on April 6 — the BJP’s Foundation Day — and at least a day before the Lok Sabha elections kick off. However, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that the manifesto would be released on April 7.

Maintaining that the delayed manifesto would not affect its electoral prospects, the BJP said its PM candidate Modi has already — in parts —made manifesto-related announcements in the course of his ongoing rallies across the country.