Caught in a dilemma over the controversial Article 370, the BJP is considering releasing a ‘vision document’ to cover the next few phases of polling in J-K before taking a call on releasing an election manifesto. While a manifesto is a document of specific promises, a vision document outlines the “broader” policy initiatives that a party proposes to take after coming to power.
Over a million electorate in 15 out of total 87 assembly constituencies will vote on Tuesday, even without getting a look at the manifestos of the BJP, the PDP and the National Conference. Rajya Sabha MP and BJP’s in-charge for J-K Avinash Rai Khanna claimed the party ran out of time before the first phase to release a poll document. “We were busy with the PM’s election rallies,” he told HT. Asked if it would be a vision document or election manifesto, Khanna replied, “Both are same. There is no difference.”
Others BJP leaders to whom HT spoke claimed that the vision document could be released between the second and the third phase on November 2 and 9. By the second phase, polling would be over in 14 out of 46 assembly seats of valley where Muslims are in majority.
The vision document, party sources say, will deal with BJP’s promise to spur growth, employment, optimal utilisation of fund and providing corruption free governance. Any reference to Article 370 — if at all made in vision document — would be ‘mild’ and reflect BJP’s intention to have a debate on its utility.
Abrogation of the article, which provides for special status to J-K, is one of the ideological issues of the BJP, which considers it an obstacle in state’s complete integration with rest of the country. BJP seniors have gone to the extent of saying it was a “national issue” and not a matter that needs to be highlighted in the assembly election.
BJP has given Mission-44 slogan for J-K that envisages a complete sweep in 37 seats of Jammu and 4 seats of Ladakh region while picking up a couple of seats in the valley.
Former separatist Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference, seen as a potential post-poll ally of the BJP, is contenting on about 25 seats in valley.