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OpinionsBJP’s election manifesto for 2024 Lok Sabha has special focus on South...

BJP’s election manifesto for 2024 Lok Sabha has special focus on South Indian states


By Harihar Swarup

The central leadership of BJP including the party's think tanks spent a lot of days in imparting some new dimensions to the election manifesto for 2024 Lok Sabha. The Sankalp Patra moved beyond traditional ideological promises to embrace new objectives like infrastructure development and enhanced service deliveries. There were cultural promises too, including plans to establish centres across the in the name of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, promote the classical Tamil languages, and organize Ramayan festival globally. Notably, absent was any mention of the controversial register of citizens, though the party reiterated its commitment to implanting a uniform civil code and ‘one nation, one poll'.

Unlike, the previous two Lok Sabha elections where focus was on north India, the battle hottest this season is in the South. Both the BJP and the Congress want to win more than more 50 of the 130 seats from the region. It is an ideological battle. While the BJP accuses the Congress and its allies of insulting regional and cultural symbols, the opposition says it wants to save the Constitution and accuses the Centre of misusing investigating agencies.

To counter this, the BJP chose Ambedkar's birth anniversary to release its manifesto. “Prime Minister Modi has given a commitment that the Constitution is our sacred book and we will safeguard it”, said BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh.

While BJP manifesto promises to scale up existing schemes and push for infrastructure — a template that resonates more in the South—the Congress has taken a more populist route to woo the electorate. It has promised Rs one lakh annually to all poor households, job reservation for women, an increase in insurance to Rs. 25 lakhs and a guarantee on minimum support price.

The battle for the south will also decide the contour of in the years to come as many regional satraps and parties vie for a bigger piece of the national pie. They represent strong regional sentiments that both the congress and BJP find easer to ally with than breach.

The BJP, which won 29 seats .t from the south in 2019, is going all out to increase its tally in the region to reach its target of 400 seats. For this Modi started early— he took Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mahabalipuram in 2019, spoke in Tamil at the at United nations, installed the Sengol in new Parliament building. Modi said that Ram Mandir has architectural elements drawn from temples in the South ,named G20 venue Bharat Mandapam after the ancient Anubhava Mandapa cultural academy of Karnataka, and also slammed the Congress government's decision to handover the island of Kachatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974.

A few days before elections were announced, the home ministry designated September 17 as Hyderabad Liberation Day. The message was against the Nizam rule. Incidentally, September 17 is also Modi's birthday.

As far the Opposition, the Congress leads the grouping and wants to double its tally from south to 56 this time. Rahul Gandhi, the key figure for the India bloc in the region, had started his Bharat Jodo Yatra, from Kannyakumari in September 2022 to establish an emotional connect with the people. Also, his candidature from Wayanad in Kerala is aimed at retaining the 19 of 20 seats the Congress led front had won from the state in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The India bloc is harping on its claim that the BJP is against federalism and that this could be last election if it wins brute majority. Southern India might not decide who occupies the treasury benches, but this election would signal whether the BJP has pan –India appeal it claims to have. For all the big-ticket decisions it has taken, the NDA government had argued that the mandate empowered it to do so.

(IPA Service)



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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