The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will release its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on April 7 in Delhi in the presence of the party's prime minister nominee, Narendra Modi.
A vendor arranges masks of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at his shop in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)
"The party manifesto will be released on April 7 (the first day of polling in the nine-phase general elections that will end on May 12)," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in Delhi on Thursday.
The BJP on Friday will also release its "charge sheet" against the Congress-led UPA government, highlighting the acts of omission and commission, failures and various scams of the present regime, Sitharaman added.
The BJP's delay evoked a sharp reaction from the Congress, which had released its manifesto on March 26 and pledged to create 10 crore jobs as well as new social schemes if it was voted to power for a third consecutive term. There was a big talk that the BJP's manifesto would be unveiled on Thursday.
The BJP is not concerned about issues, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh told Times Now.
Targeting the BJP, which is confident of forming a government at the Centre, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted, "A party (BJP) and leader (Modi) which claim great administrative and managerial competence is unable to release its manifesto in time..."
A BJP leader told news agency AFP on condition of anonymity, "The main reason (for the delay) is that almost every senior leader who was made part of the manifesto drafting committee is fighting the elections, and has been in his or her respective constituency, making it difficult to devote time to the document."
There are also speculations that the manifesto is still not ready as senior party leaders are demanding last-minute changes on some contentious issues.
Some political observers attributed the delay to internal differences within the party, which is being led by Modi.
Asked about the delay in the release of the manifesto, Sitharaman said it was purely due to the lack of availability of various leaders, as the party wanted the top leadership to be present during the manifesto release.
Sources said the draft manifesto had been prepared much earlier and handed over by the committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi sometime ago, but the top party leadership had to vet it before making it public.