The BJP has made it known that its core issues —abrogation of Article 370, construction of a Ram temple and enforcement of a uniform civil code — will be non-negotiable in its manifesto for the general election.
The newly appointed chairman of the party’s Election Manifesto Committee, Murli Manohar Joshi, said at a news conference on Friday the party would seek suggestions from cross-sections of society on a range of subjects for preparation of the draft manifesto.
The party had floated a website — bjpelectionmanifesto.com — inviting suggestions. It was ready to reconsider some of its positions, barring the core issues, on other subjects spelt out in the previous manifestos.
The website — with images of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, president Rajnath Singh and Dr. Joshi — enables visitors to give their suggestions on a range of categories, including economy, internal security, social issues and foreign affairs.
“It was decided that based on earlier manifestos we should interact with all sectors before finalising our manifesto,” Dr. Joshi said. The first draft would be ready by December.
Dr. Joshi was caught unawares when a correspondent asked why pictures of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and party veteran L.K. Advani were missing from the website. “We have taken note of the observation,” he said.
“We want a temple to be constructed at Ramjanmabhoomi. Our views on this are non-negotiable,” he said.
Asked to spell out other non-negotiable issues, Dr. Joshi said, “We are a democratic party. If there are ideas that are better for the interests of the country, we will consider them. We are not fools to ignore such suggestions.”
Scrapping Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, imposing a uniform civil code, protecting the cow and the Ram Sethu and cleaning up the Ganga were dear to the party and there would be no compromise on them, he added
“Narendra Modi is our prime ministerial candidate and this decision is final. It will not be changed even after the elections,” he said when asked whether the party would re-consider his candidature if feedback favoured such a change.