BJP vows to end policy paralysis, Ram Temple in manifesto

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 7 2014, 22:59pm hrs
Pledging to end policy paralysis, corruption and "tax terrorism" and bar FDI in multi-brand retail, the BJP today stuck to its core agenda of Ram Temple construction, Uniform Civil Code and abrogation of Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Unveiling a roadmap for the economic revival through good governance, the party said in its 42-page manifesto that its government will strategically develop high-impact domains like labour-intensive manufacturing and tourism.

Delayed by a week apparently over differences on inclusion of Hindutva issues, the manifesto was released on the opening day of 9-phased Lok Sabha elections here.

The function at the party headquarters was released by a galaxy of leaders including L K Advani, Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi, who chaired the committee that prepared the document.

The manifesto said the country has suffered a "decade of maladministration and scams" besides "decision and policy paralysis" under UPA and this situation will be changed and the engine of government will be ignited again with strong will power and commitment to public interest.

Under the chapter "Reform the System", it promised Good Governance, which will be transparent, effective, involving and encouraging and include reforms of administration, judiciary, police and election.

"We will establish a system which will eliminate the scope of corruption through public awareness, technology enabled e-governance, system based policy-driven governance, rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime and simplification of the process and procedures at all levels," the manifesto said.

Accusing the UPA government of unleashing 'tax terrorism and uncertainty' and engendering 10 years of jobless growth, it promised to provide a non-adversarial, conducive tax environment, rationalise and simplify the tax regime, overhaul the dispute resolution mechanisms.

There was speculation that with his stress on development in his current campaign, Modi was averse to touching the Hindutva issues. However, as a compromise the pet themes of the 'sangh parivar' were included. Significantly, Ram Temple issue figured under the heading 'Cultural Heritage'.

On the issue, the manifesto says the BJP "reiterates" its stand to "explore all possibilities with the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the temple in Ayodhya."

Asked about the reported differences within BJP over inclusion of the temple issue, Joshi said "whatever is there is there in the manifesto. If you want to write something on the basis of your own perceptions, you are free to do".

To a query if the party was trying to confuse voters by raking up Hindutva issues including Ram Temple while projecting governance and development, he said, "this has nothing to do with Hindutva or athva (otherwise). This is only a promise of development programme."

He said Hindutva has never been an election issue and the manifesto was based on issues of development and governance.

"We have put it in the section on "Cultural Heritage". What is culturally important for us we have said," Joshi said referring to the promise on Ram Temple. He added that the issue had been included in the previous election manifesto too and the party's stand remained unchanged.

The 'Cultural Heritage' section also has talks about creation of "necessary legal framework" to protect and promote cow and its progeny.

On Uniform Civil Code, the manifesto said Article 44 of the Constitution lists Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as one of the directive principles of the state policy.

"BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a UCC which protects the rights of all women and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a UCC drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with modern times," said the document prepared by a committee chaired by senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Dealing with Article 370 in the chapter on Jammu and Kashmir, the manifesto said "the BJP reiterates its stand on the Constitution provision and will discuss this with all stakeholders and remains committed to the abrogation of this article."

Return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood will figure hight on the BJP's agenda, it said.