India opposition BJP releases manifesto

Much-delayed manifesto by Hindu nationalist party promises to revive economy but says no to FDI in multi-brand retail.

India will hold national elections from April 7 to May 12, a process that will take six weeks [Reuters]

India’s main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), released its much delayed election manifesto, as millions of Indians began voting in parts of the country’s northeast states of Tripura and Assam.

Under the slogan, “One India, great India,” the 52-page manifesto outlined the party’s vision for India’s future under the leadership of prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, reported Reuters on Monday.

Reviving the economy, improving the country’s infrastructure and stamping out corruption are the main issues.

“Improving the economic situation, and ending the slowdown are the highlights of our manifesto. Congress’s misrule has left the nation in shambles and recovering from that is the main issue as mentioned by Narendra Modi several times,” a party source told local IANS news service.

The Hindu nationalist party said it would welcome Foreign Direct Investment in all sectors of the economy, except in multi-brand retail.

Setting up 100 “smart cities”, more engineering and management colleges and infrastructural growth are the other promises set out in the manifesto, sources added.

According to NDTV news channel, differences between the top party leaders were responsible for the delay, but party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier said that the delay was a “logistical issue”.

Additionally, the manifesto also addresses issues of policy paralysis, system reforms, and plans for a new health care system that is accessable and affordable by all.

The manifesto mentions the BJP’s old promise for a Ram temple at the disputed site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya. It calls for the building of a grand temple at the site “within the Constitutional framework”.

The party also promised to enact necessary legal framework to protect cow, which is considered sacred in Hinduism.

Source: News Agencies