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INDIA POLLS: Jobs for youth among promises in BJP's ambitious manifesto

Publication Date : 08-04-2014


The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expected to win national polls now under way, has promised jobs for youth and world-class investment regions in a newly unveiled manifesto.

The Hindu nationalist party also pledged to build a temple on a disputed site in what analysts see as a bid to reach out to traditional Hindu voters as it woos new ones with its more progressive platform of "good governance" and "development" as articulated by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Modi, flanked by the party's top leadership, released the 42-page policy statement yesterday that promised foreign direct investment in various sectors to create jobs, Wi-Fi zones in public spaces and Internet connectivity for villages.

The BJP also said it would put in place a uniform civil code, a move opposed by Muslim minorities that have their own religious code, and legal protection for the cow. It promised to explore possibilities of building a temple to the Hindu god Ram in the old site of a 16th-century mosque in Uttar Pradesh, razed in 1992 by extremist Hindus who believe it is the birthplace of Ram.

"The manifesto is a mix of the traditional and modern, from broadband for villages to jobs for the youth. They have to reach out to their traditional voters," said Dr N. Bhaskara Rao of the Centre for Media Studies in Delhi.

"It is all part of the strategy."

With the Indian economy now flagging, the BJP manifesto promises to bring it back on track.

It promises, among other things, to simplify the tax system to attract investors, generate IT-based jobs in both rural and urban areas, increase transparency in the political system to curb corruption and improve the public transport system to discourage the use of private vehicles.

It also promises to roll out low-cost housing for poor families over a decade, zero tolerance to terrorism and expand India's diplomatic corps.

But some are wondering how the BJP will realise its ambitious manifesto.

"They have promised but how will they implement? The economy at this juncture needs great modification because it is in disarray. It will be a challenge for the new government and (it) cannot allow any subsidy. It will not be all that easy," Uttar Pradesh-based analyst Sudhir Panwar said.


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