View from the left: Manifest BJPhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/view-from-the-left-manifest-bjp/

View from the left: Manifest BJP

The editorial says the second substantive point in the manifesto is “its economic agenda”.

MANIFEST BJP

Calling the BJP’s release of its manifesto on the day that polling for the Lok Sabha elections began “unprecedented”, the CPM’s People’s Democracy says that the manifesto is “full of rhetoric” and doesn’t lay down any “crucial steps” the party plans to undertake to achieve its stated objectives. “Amidst sloganeering, there are only two substantive points that emerge. The first is the reiteration of the hardcore Hindutva agenda. It has, once again, promised to build the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. However, with a caveat this time that it shall be done within the ‘Constitution’s framework’! This begs the question if the destruction of the Babri Masjid was done within the Constitution’s framework?” the editorial asks, adding that the manifesto reiterates other “hardcore Hindutva demands”, such as the uniform civil code and abrogation of Article 370.

The editorial says the second substantive point in the manifesto is “its economic agenda”. The manifesto’s promises reflect the “bargain” that “India Inc and IFC will have greater access to India’s natural and mineral wealth for profit maximisation, while the BJP will ride piggy back and form the next government”. The editorial claims that the rest of the document is “double-speak” and the “real and the declared intentions of the BJP are entirely different”: “The BJP’s campaign has been centred exclusively around projecting its ‘leader’. The BJP’s website speaks of ‘Modi Mantra’ as the panacea for all problems facing our nation and for a ‘bright future’. How this will happen, however, is not supposed to be questioned. The ‘Gujarat model’ is, we are told, the direction for an unstoppable bright future of ‘milk and honey’. A plethora of studies have busted this myth…” the editorial claims.

“There is no doubt that vast sections of our people are expressing their dismay and disgust at the UPA’s policies that have imposed unprecedented burdens on their lives. There is no question that these have to be rejected. While the Left has offered its solution in an alternative policy trajectory for the country, the BJP has not merely failed to do so but has, in fact, spoken in terms of advancing the same. Both on corruption and economic policies, there is little difference between the Congress and the BJP,” the editorial adds.

BACK TO BASICS

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The CPI’s New Age too focuses on the BJP’s manifesto, claiming that it “reflects what the RSS wants through Narendra Modi”. The editorial says that the BJP manifesto got delayed due to “growing inner conflict”, claiming that this “conflict” was “visible” during the manifesto release function. The manifesto shows that the BJP is back to its “so-called core issues” like the Ram Mandir, abrogation of Article 370 and a uniform civil code. The editorial opines that the manifesto is for “corporates”, showing not just the “growing clout” of corporates over Modi but also that of the RSS.

GUIDING VOTERS

AN editorial in ML Update, the CPI(ML) weekly, says opinion polls give rise to “disturbing questions” about their impact on voting behaviour: “In the first place, the EC has placed a clear restriction on exit polls. But when an opinion poll claims to reflect the opinions of voters in constituencies that have already voted, isn’t the opinion poll a thinly veiled ‘exit poll’? Isn’t it all too likely that voters will perceive such opinion polls as virtual ‘exit polls’?”

“Insidiously, the opinion polls being publicised during elections, are supplementing the BJP-NDA’s aggressive campaign to vote for a stable government led by Modi,” it asserts, claiming that lay voters are “far more likely to accept” the conclusions of an opinion poll at face value. “And finally, the opinion polls are highly dubious given their corporate provenance,” argues the editorial, adding the EC should have banned opinion polls during the election period.

Compiled by Ruhi Tewari