The BJP will release a ‘vision document’ for poll-bound Bihar that will showcase broad contours of the changes the party wanted to bring, giving a miss to the traditional manifesto.
The saffron party is trying to stitch up an umbrella coalition of different castes and fears a manifesto may cause trouble in case of a slip in poll promises to any particular social group, giving the advantage to a rival grand alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United) and Congress.
“A manifesto is a detailed document and requires listing of specific promises that is moral binding on the party. A vision document is a short and broad policy outline that gives certain amount of flexibility to decide the agenda of governance when voted to power,” a BJP functionary told HT.
This will be second occasion, after last year’s Jammu and Kashmir elections, when the party goes to the polls without a manifesto.
“Our president, Amit Shah, who is personally monitoring even minute details, is also of the view that a manifesto would not be a good idea in a high-stakes battle,” the BJP leader elaborated.
The saffron party is banking on anti-incumbency and has focused on its “development agenda” in its poll campaign, hoping to strike a chord with millions of impoverished people in one of India’s most backward states.
The vision documents will outline the broad details of these plans, with focus largely remaining on employment generation, infrastructure creation and a big fillip to the health and education sector.
BJP leaders said the party prepared an common minimum programme for governance in Kashmir along with the Peoples Democratic Party after taking into account the “ground reality and complexities”, and this would be repeated in Bihar in case of a victory.
“In the event of the NDA winning the poll, all NDA partners will sit together to formualise an agenda of governance without any pressure of implementing the promises in a manifesto. It would be a pragmatic situation,” another BJP functionary said.
The BJP shared power with the JD(U) for nearly eight years but has repeatedly distance itself from chief minister Nitish Kumar after he walked out of the coalition following Narendra Modi’s elevation as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate in 2013.