Indian media: Mixed reaction to BJP's election manifesto
- 8 April 2014
- From the section India
Media in India are analysing the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) manifesto for the 2014 general elections.
The manifesto, released on Monday, promises to improve the economy, expand infrastructure and deliver efficient governance.
The BJP has also promised to address the issue of constructing a temple on the site of the Babri mosque that was demolished by Hindu groups in 1992.
Papers say the Hindu nationalist party is trying to woo voters by promising to build a temple to Hindu god Ram in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The Times of India criticises the "retrograde emphasis" on building the Ram temple, though it says that the promise to do it through constitutional means is a "saving grace".
The Hindu feels the manifesto reflects "serious contradictions" within the BJP.
"The struggle within the BJP between those trying to retain the core support base of the organisation through a Hindu nationalist agenda and those attempting to reach out to wider sections of the population through a more inclusive development programme is clear," it says.
The Asian Age editorial too is critical of the BJP's plan on the controversial topic.
"It commits itself to building the Ram temple in Ayodhya within the constitutional framework. But this amounts to fudging the issue as no government can act in any matter outside the framework of the constitution in any case," the paper says.
It criticises the BJP for including the controversial issue of uniform civil code in its manifesto.
The BJP has been demanding an end to special legal rights given to different religions in India and advocates a uniform civil code for all citizens.
The issue of a common civil code is a deeply sensitive and controversial one as it would affect, for example, the right of an Indian Muslim man to have more than one wife.
The Asian Age remarks that "it is well to appreciate that 99% of our laws are already uniform. The part in the civil code that is not the same for all relates to the personal laws of different communities".
"Should a pluralistic society not allow legal flexibility to cover the domain of the personal?" the paper asks.
A section of the media see "nothing new" in the BJP's manifesto.
Describing it as "lacklustre", The Times of India says it "lacks freshness in terms of ideas… and reiterates stands on social issues that are unlikely to enhance its acceptability".
The Asian Age feels that the manifesto "is so full of generalities, often even inanities, that it reveals little of the party's personality or its agenda for governance".
"Same new" is the headline of the editorial in The Indian Express, which says that the document "is not the sharp, aggressive statement of a challenger".
"There is little in the BJP's manifesto that has not already been said, or even done, before," the paper says.
Some papers, however, are full of praise for the BJP's poll document.
"Where the BJP scores over the [ruling] Congress is on two things: its long-term economic agenda and the fact that it has gone to the micro-level of whatever it has promised," says the Hindustan Times in an editorial.
The paper feels that the BJP manifesto is far more "focused" than that of the ruling Congress party in its vision for economic development.
The Pioneer agrees, carrying an editorial headline "A specific plan of action".
The manifesto has "laid bare the philosophy, intent and commitment of the party on accelerating growth and containing inflation", the paper says.
The BJP has also promised that it may "revise and update" India's no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons.
On this topic, the DNA newspaper feels the manifesto "implies the welcome measure of constant review and fine-tuning to the country's nuclear doctrine".