Securing the country against "internal and external aggression", scrapping a law for special rights to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and doubling farmers' income by next year headlined the BJP's manifesto launched today by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the national election beginning Thursday.
"Nationalism is our inspiration, empowerment of weaker sections is our vision and good governance is our mantra," PM Modi said, adding that it would take India on "one mission, one direction".
The manifesto, themed "Sankalpit Bharat - Shashakt Bharat" or "determined India, empowered India", also "reiterated" the promise of a Ram temple at Ayodhya and pledged to "explore all options".
"I thank all of you for the cooperation in these five years. It is natural that every party will bring manifesto for the elections. But Rajnath ji has spent two-three months for our manifesto. Probably, this is for the first time that the manifesto is based on a government that will continue to remain in power," PM Modi said at the BJP's headquarters in Delhi, after party chief Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj touched upon some of the main contents of the manifesto.
"We have largely been successful in checking corruption, and increasing accountability. Technology has also played a big part," PM Modi. "We have address a number of issues to bridge the gap between north and south India," he added.
"It lays the roadmap of a continuing government," said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, adding that it was not any set of promises envisioned by "the tukde tukde gang or even the Ivy League mindset".
The manifesto promises a "zero tolerance" approach to terrorism and says the party will "continue to give security forces a free hand". The point, which is at the very top, blends in with a big campaign focus of the PM and other BJP leaders after the February Pulwama terror attack, in which over 40 soldiers were killed, and India's retaliatory strikes at Pakistan's Balakot to target a terror training camp.
It also says the government will speed up the purchase of outstanding defence equipment. The farmer income scheme will be extended to all farmers - it is currently restricted to those owning land of up to two hectares.
The party promises a pucca house for every family living in temporary houses or without any home by 2022.
Speaking earlier, BJP president Amit Shah said India had become a superpower because of the policies of the BJP-led government in the past five years, which include "50 big steps".
"It is an election of aspiration," Amit Shah said, describing 2014 to 2019, the golden period of the country under PM Modi.
The construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya as soon as possible, after exploring all possibilities within the framework of the constitution, is also among the promises, but Home Minister Rajnath Singh referred to it as a "reiteration" of the party's standing.
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