As polling enters last phase, BJP fails to release manifesto

  • Tarun Upadhyay and Vikram Sharma, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Dec 16, 2014 20:38 IST

Perhaps for the first time in its electoral history, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting an assembly election without a manifesto.

Earlier, the party has released a vision document, but it didn't touch upon contentious political issues. All other parties in the state such as NC, PDP and Congress had released their manifestos, promising self-rule, autonomy to regional councils, etc.

"There is no need to release a manifesto and raise contentious issues. We are riding on 'Modi wave' and talking about development. And it's working," said a senior BJP leader wishing not to be named.

The BJP had released its vision document on November 27 after the first phase of the polling. State BJP unit president and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma had then said the manifesto would also be released shortly.

The campaigning for the last phase of polls on December 20 will be coming to end in the next two days, but a 35-page manifesto prepared by the BJP in November was yet to be released, as the party has decided against it.

In the 2008 manifesto, when the party had got highest ever 11 seats, it had stated: "The BJP has rejected the politics of Article 370, autonomy, self-rule, demilitarisation, porous and irrelevant borders, appeasement and emotional blackmail and registered emphatic opposition to any move that is calculated to weaken the Indian sovereignty and authority in Kashmir."

The BJP, which is trying to make inroads into the Kashmir Valley, did not touch upon any of these contentious issues. The Prime Minister in his nine election rallies has not made any reference to Article 370.

However, after completion of four phases of polls, BJP leadership started talking about discrimination with the Jammu region and Article 370, as elections are to be held in Hindu majority region.

"BJP's stand on Article 370 is the same, neither diluted nor revised," finance minister Arun Jaitely had said in an election rally in Jammu.

The 2008 manifesto also stated the party would implement its agenda of one constitution and one flag and immediate withdrawal of state flag if voted to power.

However, these issues were not touched upon even at small public rallies of the BJP during the elections.

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