Congress, BJP slog to make vision document shine - The New Indian Express

Congress, BJP slog to make vision document shine

Published: 13th Oct 2013 06:00:00 AM

The current eyeball-to-eyeball contest between the Congress and BJP in run up to the 2014 elections may still be centred around poor economic condition and policy paralysis. It may change in the coming months as both opponents come out with their set of vision documents.

The BJP that is coming out with two separate sets of documents—Vision 2025 being prepared by former party president Nitin Gadkari and ‘vision document for minority empowerment’ anchored by party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi—may promise a slew of measures to woo increasing aspirational voters.

The ‘Vision Document 2025’ will promise to set up separate departments on innovation and entrepreneurship to encourage newer ideas in all fields; department of bio-fuel to cut down on country’s $144 billion oil bill; department of e-governance for using IT for better governance and cutting down on corruption.

The saffron party is preparing vision document for minorities as it feels the Muslims are yet to warm up to it.

The two key elements of this document would be its focus on education and employment for the minorities, rather than just focussing on the stereotypes of Waqf properties and Haj, Naqvi told The Sunday Standard.  “We will even come out with an action taken report, every year, on the initiatives to be undertaken by our government,” he added.

More than the promises made, it’s the manner in which both the parties are approaching the exercise to put their vision together is important.

The Congress is hiring a professional agency to give them inputs on corporate, and industry issues, apart from getting feedback from industry bodies like the FICCI and CII.  Sources said this has been necessitated in absence of master strategist Pranab Mukherjee, who has become President.  During the last two elections in 2004 and 2009, he played the key role in drafting documents for the party underlining its welfarist agenda.

The work of the private agency would be different from the already three agencies—JWT, Dentsu and Taproot—that have been hired by the Congress to prepare its campaign text, strategy and slogans.

The BJP on the other hand is relying on professionals for preparing its two documents.

Sources said Gadkari had been involved in the preparation of the vision document for over two years.  A separate sub-committee, part of election campaign for 2014, was again set up with him as in-charge in June last. Other members of the committee include Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, director of Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a BJP-backed think tank, and party leaders Prof Hari Babu and OP Kohli.

The vision document would cover 50 areas, including transport, information technology, telecom, river connectivity, forest management, mining, industry, commerce, aqua culture, aviation, disaster management, law, education, sports and culture.

Since then Gadkari has interacted with professionals drawn from various fields. A few months back, he got feedback from policy experts like Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Bibek Debroy.  Last year, he held two meetings with CEOs of the country’s top IT companies and industry chambers that saw 29 industry captains with Rs 5,000+ crore turnover attending the meetings, BJP sources said.  Among the participants were Naina Lal Kidwai, FICCI president & country head, HSBC India; Som Mittal, President, NASSCOM; Deepak Ghaisas, chairman , GCV life; Ajay Singha, ED-AmCham; Pankaj Mohindroo, President, ICA.

The latest in the series of this interaction took place on October 9 when Gadkari, along with BJP chief Rajnath Singh, was closeted with IT professionals drawn from Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science.  “Om Kanwar from IIT-Delhi proposed ‘national digital evidence grid’, a unique technology to improve law and order; Sachin Srivastava from IIT-Kanpur proposed standardisation of education;  while Sanjib Ghosh, an alumni of IIT-Delhi, talked about Integrated Public Distribution System  to plug leakages in the system,” sources said.

“It’s participative governance, where people present solutions. We listen to ideas, make notes. These ideas will be included in the documents,” a BJP leader said.

The BJP is increasingly engaging with professionals and younger population as it feels it will find a lot of traction with such electorate.

For the vision document on minorities empowerment, the Naqvi-led team is interacting with Muslim scholars and community leaders to address the concerns.  “We tell the minorities that they have not received much from the UPA government.  They can either ignore us or be part of the government formation in the 2014 elections,” a BJP leader said.

When the BJP promises better education, enhanced security, it would also propose means to increase employment. By employment we just don’t mean jobs in government or private sector but creating more self-employment opportunities. But unlike Congress’ promise of reservation for Muslims, there will not be any such proposal in BJP’s vision document.

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