“Stealing” ideas is routinely associated with Bollywood films; now the practice seems to have found its way into the poll arena too.
Ahead of the November 25 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress have accused each other of plagiarism in their manifestos.
BJP leaders said the Congress included in its manifesto, which was released on November 11, many of the state government’s schemes such as pilgrimage for the elderly and confiscation of assets belonging to corrupt government officials.
The Congress hit back, saying that the ruling party “copied” several points from its manifesto, which includes exemption from paying driving licence fee and concession for women when they apply for registration of their vehicles, quota in government jobs for sportspersons and the issue of merger agreement in Bhopal.
“This is why the BJP did not release its manifesto earlier,” state Congress spokesperson Abhay Dubey said. “They took five days to study our manifesto and copy its impressive points.”
According to Dubey, the BJP’s free smartphone scheme for the youth is “inspired” by the Congress manifesto, which promises free laptops and tablets for the youth.
BJP manifesto committee convenor Vikram Verma put another spin to the “copying” episode. “The question is not about the promises; it is about who is going to fulfil them,” he said. “The BJP can say with conviction that it will fulfil its promises on the basis of its government’s performance. Whereas the Congress knows that it can make any number of promises, but it is not coming to power in the state.”