Indian Express

Narendra Modi’s mark on BJP manifesto

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modi Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (R) and Party President Rajnath Singh release the party's election manifesto in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

When it was finally released Monday, the BJP manifesto came with a definite imprint of the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, including three personal assurances by him — to work hard to the end, to never act in “bad faith” and to never ever act out of self interest.

“The party has bestowed me with certain responsibility. I want to make three promises personally – I will never be found wanting on hard work, I will not do anything for myself and I will not do anything with bad intent,” Modi said at launch of the much-awaited election document.

The BJP manifesto is so closely based on Modi’s views that it seems like an expanded version of a document titled ‘Vision of Modi’ that was widely circulated at a BJP strategy meeting in January.

The idea of starting an IIT and AIIMS in all states, a Beti Bachao programme, building 100 smart cities besides focus on twin cities and satellite cities, a golden quadrilateral of bullet trains – christened diamond quadrilateral in the manifesto – a price stabilisation fund to check inflation, a national agriculture market, preventive health care for all, besides the interlinking of rivers, were all part of Modi’s “vision”.

Even Modi’s focus on “Brand India”, which emphasises on what he calls the 5Ts – talent, trade, tradition, tourism and technology – gets a place in the manifesto.

The centrality of Modi is further underlined in the manifesto which also resonates with what he has been saying in recent speeches.

While stopping short of announcing a special package for West Bengal and Bihar, the manifesto talks of regional disparities between the western and eastern parts of India, just like Modi has been.

“Despite their richness in both natural as well as human resources, the eastern part of India still lags behind. We shall give the highest priority towards bringing the eastern parts of the country on par with the western parts…there shall be special focus and emphasis on the development of the eastern side of India,” the manifesto promises.

One of Modi’s newer ideas, expressed at an interaction with lawyers led by Ram Jethmalani, of developing India into a “global hub for arbitration and legal process outsourcing” is a part of the BJP’s plans to overhaul the judicial system. Modi had talked of plans to set up LPOs or legal process outsourcing firms during his interaction with the lawyers.

On police reforms, the manifesto talks of bringing “coastal states together on a common platform to discuss the issue of marine policing”, another theme that interests Modi.

The manifesto also promises an agri-rail network – train wagons designed to cater to the specific needs of perishable agricultural products such as milk and vegetables – and “lightweight wagons for salt movement”.

Modi’s home state of Gujarat contributes to almost 76 per cent of continued…

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