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BJP mum on corruption in its manifesto

Driven to the wall over the Judeo bribery case, the Bharatiya Janata Party ignored its favourite poll plank 'corruption' in its poll manifesto, writes Pradip Kumar Maitra.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2003 19:39 IST

Driven to the wall over the Judeo bribery case, the Bharatiya Janata Party, that came up with its manifesto for Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, ignored its favourite poll plank 'corruption'. Party president M Venkaiah Naidu who released the manifesto tried to convince journalists by saying "polls cannot be fought on a single issue of corruption".

The state BJP has all this while highlighted 'corruption' by Jogi Government and reiterated that it would be a major poll plank. Party insiders said the issue was not included in the 28-page manifesto in wake of the Judeo episode.

Naidu, later said the party had not changed its stand on corruption and said that the coming elections would be fought on the issue of development, achievements of Vajpayee government at centre and the performance of the Jogi government, education, healthcare and growing unemployment.

According to available information, 'corruption' was in fact included as the major election issue in the original draft, prepared a week back. The union minister and senior party leader, Rajnath Singh, was supposed to release the manifesto on Monday. But it was postponed for Wednesday in the wake of the Judeo scandal. And subsequently, the party revised its draft and came out with a new one that kept mum on its once `core' issue.

Naidu, however, claimed that the resignation of Judeo and ordering a CBI enquiry to probe the matter, have raised the image of the party and established that the party believes in transparency. "Judeo was not chargesheeted. Nobody has lodged a complaint against him. But he resigned on moral grounds," he said and pointed out that this has shown that the BJP is different than others.

He pointed out that allegations of corruption were made against the former prime ministers, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao, Sitaram Kesri and others but none of them resigned from their respective posts.

It was the Congress, which said that charge-sheeted people should not continue in office, he said and asked why the Congress President was not insisting for the resignation of chief minister Ajit Jogi, who was charge sheeted by CBI and Shahdol Court? "The party should clarify that whether it still stuck to its earlier stand that the charge sheeted people should not continue in office," he added.

He took a strong exception over the Congress's refusal to institute a CBI enquiry to probe the multi-crore Telgi scandal. "The people of four states where elections will be held on December 1 will give a befitting reply to Congress for its double-standards," he said.

Meanwhile, the state BJP promised to provide Rs 500 monthly stipend to educated unemployed who studied upto XII. If it comes to power, the government will enact laws for the banning of religious conversions and cow slaughter.

The party will try its level best for the recognition of Chhattisgarhi language as the state language. It also promised to provide a cow to all tribal families and provide meals to poor at a price of Rs 5. The manifesto also promised to give free bicycles to all tribal girls going to high school, job opportunity to at least one person from a family and assured that salt would be made available to tribals at 25 paise per kg.

First Published: Nov 19, 2003 19:39 IST