The BJP’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls is expected to focus heavily on reviving the economy and include promises to substantially ease the financial burden on the middle class through a significantly relaxed tax regime.
While sensitive issues such as Ram Mandir, Article 370 and Ram Setu, among others, will continue to find a place as “non-negotiables” as they are a part of the BJP’s core beliefs, the thrust will be economic, with the focus on job creation, empowering women, education and science and technology.
An IIT and IIM in each state, a clear system for environmental clearances that can hold the government accountable for delays, and boosting jobs in manufacturing and tourism are on the cards.
The document is expected to run into more than 50 pages and contain a roadmap to revive the economy with specific actionable points.
Keeping in mind its core vote bank — the middle class — a major tax rationalisation proposal is expected to find prominent place. A strong anti-terror bill, cheap housing in urban areas and uninterrupted power supply for all will also be promised.
The manifesto, it is learnt, will also systematically dissect the UPA’s performance through the last decade and tear into it with the backing of data, besides promising the dawn of a “new era”.
“The BJP manifesto will be quite unlike any other. It will come with specific action points…no high octane words… this is about just getting on the job right away,” said one source.
The manifesto is expected to be released by the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi either on March 31 — the beginning of the Hindu new year — or the first few days of Navratri, depending on Modi’s availability.
Education is expected to be one of the longest chapters and will also be a theme across all sectors. Major incentives are expected to be given to attract and retain teachers in view of the huge vacancies across institutes.
Learning from the widespread criticism the UPA government drew for holding back projects worth crores over green clearances, the BJP manifesto is also expected to assure a streamlined system for environment and forest clearances that will enable project proponents to hold the government accountable for delays.
This time-bound system with a clear grievance framework will make space for the environment ministry to give policy directives that will also be coordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure a synch between stakeholder ministries. Similarly, a clear framework for the use of natural and national resources will be a part of the manifesto.