Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Amit Shah, today released the ruling BJP's manifesto for the national election starting Thursday. The "sankalp patra" or document of promises has been crafted on the theme of a "Sankalpit Bharat - Shashakt Bharat" or "determined India, empowered India".
"We have decided to move ahead with one mission, one direction for the country," PM Modi said. "Probably, this is for the first time, that the manifesto is based on a government that will continue to remain in power," he said.
The BJP promises housing for all by 2020 and the doubling of farmers' income by next year.
"In five years, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken 50 major decisions for the betterment of the country. From 2014-19, our government has transformed the country," Amit Shah said today.
"We took suggestions from six crore people while making the sankalp patra. When we came to power in 2014, our country was ranked as 11th major economy. Today, it stands as 5th major economy," Mr Shah said.
PM Modi sat on the stage, flanked by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the BJP chief.
"We have been a highly performing government which has fulfilled the 2014 manifesto. This manifesto is one of the government which will continue in government. This manifesto has not been prepared with a tukde tukde mindset and an Ivy League mindset," Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
"PM Modi has promised to double the income of farmers, and we have largely managed to fulfill it. Rs 25 lakh crore will be spent on development of rural areas," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
In 2014, the BJP had released its manifesto on the first day of the nine-phase polls but this time the Election Commission has put a 48-hour gag order as part of the model code and it applies to each of the seven phases over the next six weeks.
On Sunday, in a build up towards the manifesto launch, the BJP showcased its campaign slogan Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar, (Modi government, once again), at the party headquarters in Delhi.
"The first theme of the campaign will be 'Kaam Karne Wali Sarkar'. Also, we formed a government in 2014 - an era of corruption, and ran an honest government. This is why the second theme is Imaandar Sarkaar. The third theme of the campaign will be Bade Faisle Lene Waali Sarkaar, since this government has taken the tough decisions which include development and national security," Union Minister Arun Jaitley said after launching the campaign slogan.
With the Congress manifesto emphasizing on welfare measures, including the NYAY plan that promises Rs 72,000 to the poorest in India, the BJP is likely to announce a plan for farmers, youth and women.
Terrorism and security-related issues have also been the focus of the party's poll campaign since Pulwama attack and the retaliatory Balakot strike across the Line of Control.
Last week, PM Modi had said while campaigning in Bihar that he needs another term to fulfill his promises. "I don't claim to have finished all the work. When they (Congress) cannot say so in 70 years, how can I make that claim in just five years?" said the Prime Minister, who, ahead of the 2014 elections, had sought 60 months to equal Congress achievements of 60 years.
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