Finally, on Monday Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came out with its Lok Sabha Election manifesto in which it touched upon many social, economic and governance issues, the country is facing today. Along with that, the party also raised the old issue on which it reached till the power of corridor of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya but they put it in the cultural heritage section of the manifesto.
In its 52-page election manifesto, the saffron party raised the main slogans of “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat” (One India, best India) and “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas”, which is good slogan.
However, on Ram temple BJP’s manifesto says, “BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
Though BJP emphasised that it would follow the Constitution on this issue, but this particular point in its manifesto has also raised many eyebrows.
Linking Ram temple with cultural heritage of the country, may be mere an election gimmick by the party. But the important question here is, is Ram temple important for people today in this 21st century? Do people really think that construction of Ram temple is important for the cultural heritage value of the country, where many other temples are there, where not even a single disciple visits?
For the new generation, Ram Mandir does not have any meaning, it is totally absurd. New generation needs employment, good salary, corruption free governance. It is very good that some people are bringing back the old agenda. And in this, there are two things that is happening. First, few political leaders are going back to their original agenda and getting themselves exposed as they are shifting from economic growth or unemployment to this issue. And secondly, people are wrongly defining the ‘Hindu’ religion. There is a misunderstanding that a few people are living with, i.e. ‘Hinduism is equal to Ram’ but actually it is not. Hinduism contain 33000 god’s and goddess’s. So over focusing on ‘Ram Mandir’ issue in name of Hinduism is projecting a wrong image about the religion. The true Hindu should refrain themselves from this type of agenda.
In the same way, the RSS also frightens people with the misuse of a mythic past. Myths are sacred, why use them to frighten people, and create polarisations? Modi is using the RSS as a base to change the BJP in its essential form, and it is a dangerous moment for democratic politics. By persuasion and threat, he is communicating that only his view of the world is a relevant one. Recently, we have seen Amit Shah’s speech of ‘Revenge’.
The release of the manifesto which came on the opening day of the nine-phased Lok Sabha elections drawing criticism from rivals also.
Contentious issues like construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, abrogation of Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enactment of Uniform Civil Code have been included in the BJP’s election manifesto.
Dealing with Article 370 in the chapter on Jammu and Kashmir, the manifesto said “the BJP reiterates its stand on the constitution provision and will discuss this with all stakeholders and remains committed to the abrogation of this article.”
In fact, the manifesto is so closely based on Modi’s views that it seems like an expanded version of a document titled ‘Vision of Modi’ that was widely circulated at a BJP strategy meeting in January and we can give this manifesto another name as ‘Modi’festo.
Several sections of the ‘Modi’festo were also a throwback to the promises the party had made in Gujarat before the 2012 assembly elections.
Even Modi’s focus on “Brand India”, which emphasises on what he calls the 5Ts – talent, trade, tradition, tourism and technology – finds a place in the manifesto.
While stopping short of announcing a special package for West Bengal and Bihar, the manifesto talks of regional disparities between the western and eastern parts of India, just like Modi has been.