As expected, the BJP manifesto released on Monday was slammed by political parties, who saw a “hidden agenda” in the document which they felt was “meant to hoodwink voters”.
The saffron party’s manifesto drew flak for coming out late and on a day when the Lok Sabha polling in five Upper Assam and one Tripura seat was under way.
The most scathing attack came from the Congress, which called the document a “laundry list of disconnected ideas” and accused the BJP of lifting ideas from its own manifesto released on March 26.
That the BJP document bore a signature of the party’s manifesto committee chief Murli Manohar Joshi showing the same date also came in for attack and was cited as proof of what the Congress called “the BJP’s copycat act”.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed his party could have “filed a case pertaining to infringement of intellectual property rights”. But “imitation is the best form of flattery — they have copied so much that they copied the date of the release of the Congress manifesto too,” he added. Singhvi called the BJP’s promise of minority welfare “Dracula” wanting to be “head of the blood bank”.
The Congress spokesman sought to remind the media that the Gujarat government had gone to court to stall the Centre’s scholarship programme for minority students which they felt was in violation of the Constitution.
Narendra Modi’s remark that the party’s manifesto was not just a “ritual” but an article of faith also came under criticism. Congress said he was repeating what Sonia Gandhi had said while releasing the grand old party’s manifesto.
“For BJP, elections are about personality, not policy, about a person and not a programme,” Singhvi said. He also accused Modi of going back on his earlier position that he supported FDI in retail.
While CPM leader Sitaram Yechury questioned the BJP’s intent of building a Ram temple within the Constitutional framework, CPI’s D Raja said that Congress’ and BJP’s agenda were the same — “supporting big business.
Meanwhile, reacting to the mention of Article 370, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said “these are handles which BJP uses to come to power — they are not for implementation”.
Samajwadi Party made similar criticisms like Abdullah about BJP making “certain promises which are for appeasing core followers, but are forgotten when they come to power.”