New Delhi: The ruling BJP government at the Centre on Monday released its election manifesto, just three days ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha polls.
Contrary to speculation that the document of intent would spell out the party’s clear stand on the Ram Temple issue, the manifesto remained ambiguous on this aspect.
The highlight of the manifesto was a thrust on the farm sector and annulling of Article 35A of the Constitution, as the “provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir”.
The salient features of the manifesto are as follows:
We reiterate our stand on Ram Mandir. We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Citizenship Amendment Bill
We are committed to the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Bill for the protection of individuals of religious minority communities who are escaping persecution in neighbouring countries. We will make all efforts to clarify the issues to sections of the population from Northeastern states who have expressed apprehensions regarding the legislation. We reiterate our commitment to protect the linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of the Northeast. Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries will be given citizenship in India.
Doubling farmers’ income
We are committed to making an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore to improve productivity of the farm sector.
Interest-free Kisan Credit Card loans:
We will provide short-term new agriculture loans of up to Rs 1 lakh at a 0 per cent interest rate for 1-5 years on the condition of prompt repayment of the principal amount.
PM-Kisan scheme will further be expanded to include all farmers in the country. At present, it covers those owning up to two acres of land.
Pension for small and marginal farmers:
We will launch a pension scheme for all small and marginal farmers in the country so as to ensure social security to them on reaching 60 years of age.
Jammu & Kashmir – Article 370
In the last five years, we have made all necessary measures to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and policy. We are committed to overcome all obstacles that come in the way of development and provide adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state. We reiterate our position, since the time of the Jan Sangh, about abrogating Article 370.
We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.
Zero-Tolerance Approach to Terrorism
The manifesto read: Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only. This is exemplified by the Surgical Strikes and the Air Strikes carried out recently. We will firmly continue our policy of Zero Tolerance against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security forces in combating terrorism.
We will speed up the purchase of outstanding defence-related equipment and weapons. In order to equip the Armed Forces with modern equipment, we will continue to take focused steps to strengthen the strike capability of the Armed Forces.
There has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration, resulting in an adverse impact on local people’s livelihood and employment. We will expeditiously complete the National Register of Citizens process in these areas on priority. In future, we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country.
Uniform Civil Code
The manifesto read: Article 44 of the Constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times.