What would political rivals list in their Manifestos?

A pre-Manifesto review on political rivals would provide a window to political parties’ electoral calculations. NDA Government and the Opposition grand alliance are focussing on issues that deserve to be addressed at the core. What are they and why?

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We are again at the crucial time of the year when it is a contest between performance and non-performance. While in the run up to the elections, voters are promised a lot and debates revolve around social handouts and other concessions for the mass at large, this time, there is a game changing discourse affected significantly by an action-oriented PM. He delivered several things that are mouthful for the Opposition such that now the debate is based on their impact and many counter promises have been made. Meanwhile, poll manifestos have again surfaced as the crucial link connecting political candidates and voters. What they all are based upon and why they find their place considerably?

Digging into the performance of the past five years, one may list at least 15 aspects or points of concern which may become electoral issues and poll manifestos might bear their impact. Since parties are in the race to catch up with voters, they raise those failures and project remedies to resolve them. So, the list below might find a focus among the voters.

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These are Farmer suicides and agrarian crisis; Impact of Demonetisation and GST regime; Unemployment; Economic Reforms; DBT – UBI; Defence and national security issues; Women Security and Development; Infrastructural Development; Housing for all and other social schemes; Financial independence of states; Cow vigilance and other mobocracy; Water and Irrigation, Inland Navigation projects; Make in India and Digital India; War on Black Money and Minority welfare and Immigrant debates.

Parties may choose the order and rank over the issues listed above in accordance with their strength, influence and voter base in several states. Because, the poll is for central regime, they have to draw a strategy to accommodate all the leading issues that are under wider debate.

“Presumably, agrarian crisis, large-scale unemployment, demonetisation, GST, Cow vigilance, assaults on minority and infringement on rights of states may find top most places. Needless to say, these are the issues continuously under focus for the past two and half years.”

The back story 2014

During the 2014 poll, the INC promised several “Rights” in their manifesto. It contained “Right to Health” to “Right to Pension”. In Contrary, the BJP focussed on good governance and clean government. INC’s manifesto according to many opposition leaders were mere repeat of earlier poll manifestos. More than that, BJP campaign managers created an attractive campaign outreach programme “Chai Pe Charcha” involving Modi’s interest to discuss issues with the public.

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By the time the manifesto reached the public (which was delayed by the BJP), brand Modi had already reached the masses across the country. The Modi Wave, in fact was launched while he addressed thousands in one of Delhi’s colleges where he promised good governance and creating employment among youth in 2013 itself.

“In fact, Modi did deliver but with several odds attached with many tasks. Demonetisation is an example with considerable “side effects”, allege many.”

Current expectations

Both the INC and the BJP have begun the campaign based on the performance by the NDA government. The INC is already on the warpath and seems to have decided its strategy. It is entirely skewed over bashing brand Modi and promising all necessary rectification for every error committed during the last five years.

There is no doubt that all the 15 above listed issues would gain prominence under the INC’s review. In contrast, the BJP would claim that all the campaigns and manifestos cannot be beyond its performance. Therefore, the expectations of other parties and the public shall go beyond the limitations of the mentioned list of issues. We have to wait and see what happens in the next two months.