Remember the manifesto of BJP for Gujarat Elections? Maybe you would remember the promises of Congress party if they win Gujarat? No? Neither do I or majority of people or the media.
Elections are fought by various political parties to demonstrate why they should be in charge of governance of a country or a state. Therefore, one can conclude that all issues about good and better governance would be the larger conversation during electioneering.
But, no! Everything harmful to good governance is actually the campaign plank of parties in India. The conversation and campaigning in Gujarat elections as usual was to embroil the voters into emotional tangles with stuff like, “neech”, “sex videos”, “Mandir”, “masjid” etc.
A concrete example of how low on priority is governance in electioneering can be gauged from the importance given to manifesto by the parties themselves.
The BJP, that is the largest party in power today, released its manifesto a day before the elections. The Cong was slightly better by releasing it 5 days before the elections. BJP’s manifesto has something for the voters to chew on. But Congress party manifesto is like a leaflet drafted by some high school student. The truth is BJP, Congress and our media, all have stopped caring about promises and manifesto. Have a look at the links below to see these two manifestoes.
The voters also don’t seem to miss the most important document for any election. For them too elections is like a heady tamasha.
Neither does the media bring up the subject of party manifesto. Because for them too it’s a lot easier to be part of the tamasha. It requires no research? No need of a good editorial team? So much cheaper and easier to entertain people with political drama of our “Republic”. The last time someone actually made the effort to track manifesto promises was The Hindu newspaper, which tracked AAP’s promises after one year. It is perhaps the only media somewhat focusing on this. And worse still, some media resort to lies and fake news for sensationalism or toe the line of their owners.
Meanwhile, our 70 years old Republic is faced with some shameful and some explosive facts. According to the 2011 Census, only 4.5% of our country’s population is educated to level of graduate. 32.6% is not even educated up to primary level.
41% of India’s population is below the age of 20 years (2011 Census), 50% of the population is in the 20-59 age group. A mind-boggling number of youth will be in need of jobs. But, instead of creation of jobs, demonetization which plunged the country’s GDP to 5.7% saw retrenchments in many areas. ILO in its World Employment & Social Outlook report in Jan, 2017 said unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7million last year to 17.8 million in 2017. This becomes relevant in the face of BJP poll promise of creating 1 crore jobs every year.
The bursting youth population, sinking job opportunities and drumming up of violent, divisive emotional issues of polarization make for an explosive alchemy which may go out of control.
Then there is environment, civic amenities, infrastructure, health, poverty, agriculture crisis which need to be addressed.
Below are links to the Gujarat State manifestoes of BJP and Congress. Judge for yourself which party has done it’s home-work on what it is promising to deliver to the people. Attached is also the APP manifesto for the 2015 Delhi state election because it is the other emerging national level party. What did it promise and what was fulfilled?
Media, informed groups and voters must focus on Party manifestoes and deliverance if elections are to serve the purpose of getting committed people in power.