On Monday, India starts voting for its next government but the BJP, expected to win the most seats, has yet to release its manifesto. Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed today that the party’s national agenda will be unveiled on April 7, the day the first voters cast their ballots.
Some political observers have attributed the delay to internal differences within the party, which is being led by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
“The main reason (for the delay) is that almost every senior leader who was made part of the manifesto drafting committee is fighting the election, and has been in his or her respective constituency, making it difficult to devote time to the document,” a BJP leader said on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
Opinion polls say Mr. Modi, the 64-year-old chief minister of Gujarat is the frontrunner for the country’s top job. He is running on his credentials as a hands-on leader and economic reformer.
“A party and leader which claims great administrative and managerial competence is unable to release its manifesto in time,” Priyanka Chaturvedi, spokeswoman for the ruling Congress party, tweeted on Thursday.
“Why is BJP unable to produce even a manifesto on time?” she added.
The mammoth nine-phase election starts on April 7 and concludes on May 12, with counting on May 16.
The ruling Congress party released its manifesto on March 26, pledging to create millions of jobs and new social schemes if it is voted back into power for a third consecutive term.