BJP manifesto is a hastily prepared 'high school essay': Jairam Ramesh

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 8 2014, 00:34am hrs
Union Minister Jairam Ramesh today said BJP's manifesto is a hastily prepared "high school essay" prepared by "lifting" some of the portions from his own speeches and writings.

Describing BJP manifesto as a "deeply disappointing document", the Congress leader also alleged the programmes and initiatives that it talks about were initiated by the UPA Government.

"Finally, all I can say it is a great deal of personal satisfaction for me. Because there are some portions in the manifesto which somebody has lifted from my earlier speeches and writings," Ramesh said.

"For example, they talk about 'Rurban India'-- the area which are rapidly urbanising. This I wrote almost 10 years ago...," the Rural Development Minister said.

BJP in its manifesto has promised that "through the idea of Rurban, we will bring urban amenities to our rural areas, while retaining the soul of the village".

In an interview to a foreign media in 2011, immediately after taking over the Rural Development Ministry portfolio, Ramesh had said, "India is rapidly urbanizing. I feel that it is fast becoming neither rural or urban, but a "Rurban" country."

The Minister said that for the last two to three years the Rural Development Ministry's PURA programme has been "oriented towards the so called rurban areas."

"Overall, I think this is deeply disappointing document. It is actually a high school essay. If you ask me, it is not a manifesto...," Ramesh said.

Criticising BJP, he said that the delay in the release of manifesto "betrays policy confusion at the highest level" of BJP.

"It is clear that BJP is being pulled in different directions and they have not been able to arrive at a major consensus," he said.

Ramesh said that the BJP in its manifesto has made a number of promises and pledges on programmes that are already underway over the last 10 years and wondered whether the Opposition party was "sleeping like Kumbhkarn or they have chosen to ignore this."

"For example, they are talking about introducing a pension scheme which already exists. They are talking of linking MNREGA in agriculture. This was announced by me two years ago," Ramesh said.

"They are talking of identifying 100 more backward districts, this has already been identified and in fact the backward region grant fund is based on the 100 most backward districts," the Minister said.

Taking potshots at the manifesto, Ramesh said BJP was promising one rank one pension and the scheme has already been announced by the UPA government.

"They (BJP) are talking about a national multi skill mission, which has already been placed under the chairmanship of Ramadurai -- the National skill development authority. They are talking of low income housing. We have Indira Awas Yojana for the last 30 years and Rajiv Awas Yojana for the last couple of years," he said.

"They are talking about cleaning up of rivers. There has been a major programme of cleaning of rivers and 34 other rivers in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It is clear that the manifesto is a very hastily prepared document," said Ramesh, who was a key contributer to Congress manifesto.

It talks about programmes and initiatives which are already ongoing. Clearly nobody has bothered to do their homework, he added.

On the question of existence of controversial issue of Article 370, Ram temple and Uniform Civil Code in manifesto, Ramesh said, "how the allies of BJP will take to this promises -- only they can answer."

Taking a dig at Narendra Modi, he said BJP was fighting the Lok Sabha elections not on the basis of a party programme but on the basis of an individual.

"Congress is seeking a mandate on the basis of party ideology, its history, the achievements, its manifesto and its priority. BJP is negating the importance of the party and it is seeking a mandate only for an individual," he said.