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Panellists feel that parties should be careful about making false claims

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today released its poll manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The photograph of prime minister Narendra Modi is on the cover, and it is titled, “Sankalp Bharat Sashakt Bharat”, with promises to double farmers’ incomes and to build the Ram mandir, among others. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the BJP poll manifesto. Anchorperson Akshshay posed the questions to panellists, including the Congress’s Pawan Dikshit, BJP’s Raghvendra Singh, SP’s Ratansen Singh, noted scribe Shishpal Gosain, and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Raju said: “This time the BJP has presented a careful manifesto, not making empty tall promises. The BJP knows this is a prestige election. BJP has taken the earlier line on the Ram mandir issue, and nothing new has been announced.”

Raghvandra Singh said: “BJP came to power with the slogan ‘Sabka sath, sabka vikas’. For the BJP, it is first nation and then party. Education, health, triple talaaq, all of these have been BJP’s priorities.”

Akshay wanted to know about unemployment. To this, Singh said: ”We have already made huge progress on that.”

Dikshit said:”It is a khokla patr, full of empty promises. There is no mention of unemployment. The BJP is scared. Nothing was done on the proposed Smart City project. Beti Bachao was another poster campaign only. BJP has been telling lies after raising people’s expectations. The promised pension for small businessmen will be another farce.”

Akshay asked SP’s Ratansen Singh about SP’s poll manifesto. He said: ”Bullet train, Smart City…where are these? I have been waiting for that. Black money is still rampant. Unemployment is rampant. Modi wanted only 60 months to change the nation’s destiny. We are still to see that. Our manifesto makes no such false promises.”

Gosain said: “I agree with Raju that BJP has said nothing new. It has avoided the mention on employment. Today unemployment is the highest-ever in many decades.”

Dikshit said: “Since 1947, Congress has been in power and understands governance very well. The people of Kashmir have to be taken into account for Art 370. BJP can’t ride roughshod on people’s wishes. BJP has to sit down to understand what people in Kashmir want.”

Raju said: “Art 35 A and Art 370 are two separate issues. There has been talk of scrapping Art 370. Parties have to ensure that they should be making promises that can be fulfilled. Kashmir Pandits have been promised that they will be relocated to Kashmir again, but how is that to happen?”

Ratansen Singh: “Art 370 cannot be scrapped wilfully. And same with Art 35 A. SP’s mudda is farmers, electricity and water.”

Gosain said: “BJP manifesto came after the Congress’s. There should be no compromise on the nation’s security. In the Kashmir attack a month ago, many soldiers and officers died. Government has to make sure such attacks don’t happen again.”

Raghvendra Singh said:”Congress has been a bad loser. When out of power, Indira Gandhi had shown support or Bindranwale. Vikas is now done in a better way.”

Dikshit said: “Eight months we spent making the manifesto, we first made a blueprint and then made it public. Tax structure has gone lopsided, there is a lot of scope there. We will not be spending on simply branding of programs, like what has been done by the BJP with its Beti Bachao programme, and many others as well.”

Gosain said:”People should be given time to judge what they should be choosing, after going through the manifesto.”

Raghvendra Singh said:”There is large scope of employment generation in the unorganised sector. BJP will be looking at that too improve employment figures.”

Raju said: “Government plans to keep its liabilities down. BJP has not purposefully kept the employment level down. Many things happen in the course of governance. For instance, after much talk, common minimum income could not take off in the way it was planned.”

Compiled By: Niti Singh Bhandari 

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