It is a copy of our manifesto, claims Congress

The Congress has said that most of the promises in the BJP manifesto, released on Monday, were either borrowed from its own manifesto or those that had already been implemented by the United Progressive Alliance.

“Imitation is the best form of flattery,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said about the BJP manifesto, released a couple of hours after polling began in six constituencies. “After all the taunts, we have been truly complimented by the BJP for our work and what we plan to do ahead. We thank the BJP for the compliment.” The manifesto was “a cut-and-paste job” in most parts.

Mr. Singhvi described the manifesto as a “laundry list of disconnected ideas.” It was like a high-school essay prepared by an uninformed student. Referring to the BJP promise to expedite work on freight corridors and attendant industrial corridors, the Congress said work was already on course and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor had “decisively moved” into the implementation phase.

As for the BJP promise to link agriculture to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Congress pointed out that 50 per cent of the public works under the programme was already agriculture-linked. The one-rank-one-pension for defence personnel — another BJP promise — had already been implemented.

In some instances, the BJP had tweaked existing programmes. The UPA launched the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in November 2013 and the BJP now promised an All-Women Mobile Bank. The UPA had set up the Nirbhaya Fund for the security and safety of women and the girl child and the BJP had promised an Acid Attack Victims Welfare Fund. Also, both manifestos promise more jobs and “transparent environment clearances.”

“Bid to polarise votes”

Special Correspondent reports from Karaikudi:

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram criticised the manifesto for bringing back the contentious issues of Ram temple, enactment of a Common Civil Code and abrogation of Article 370 (granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir) to the centre stage.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, the Congress leader said the BJP had brought back the three core issues, which it had put on the back burner before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, to polarise votes. “They [the BJP] do not care for the votes of the minorities and their sentiments. Their aim seems to be to ignite religious passions.”

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