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BJP is so smug that it hasn’t even released a manifesto for Gujarat

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BJP feels people of Gujarat are familiar with Modi’s vision, and thus releasing a manifesto/vision document is a matter of custom, not consequential.

New Delhi: The BJP’s confidence in Narendra Modi’s leadership is so high that it doesn’t seem to feel the need for an election manifesto. At least not so far.

With the first phase of polling in Gujarat due on Saturday, the party hasn’t yet released any manifesto, vision document, or ‘Sankalp Patra’ (literally, pledge letter).

In 2012, the BJP had released the Gujarat Sankalp Patra on 3 December, ten days before the first phase of the poll on 13 December.

Sources in the party said the document has been under preparation for the last several weeks. But they also say that the delay is not being taken seriously, as senior leaders feel it wouldn’t be of much consequence in the light of Modi’s mass appeal.

Bhupendra Yadav, national general secretary of the BJP, confirmed that the Gujarat BJP would come out with it soon. “We are not late in releasing it,” Yadav told ThePrint.

The BJP’s main rival in Gujarat, the Congress, also unveiled its manifesto only Monday, with its main poll planks being caste and reservation.

Contents of campaign speeches

There is a feeling in the BJP’s Gujarat unit that releasing a manifesto wouldn’t change much, as the people of Gujarat know what the party under Modi and Amit Shah stands for – after all, Modi ruled the state for 13 years.

Rather than promising anything specific, BJP leaders’ campaign speeches have so far focussed on the BJP’s development work in the last 22 years in the state and the last three-and-a-half years at the Centre, as well as how the UPA hampered the development of the state, and how the elections are a matter of pride for ‘Gujarat ka beta’, Modi.

It is also constantly attacking Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on his religion, and raking up decades-old issues such as the alleged mistreatment of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by the Congress party.

No broken promises

Senior leaders believe the days of manifestos – when the party used to shortlist issues and campaign and contest those elections on those specific issues – are long gone.

“They are no longer called manifestos. They are now vision documents – not promises, but an outline of the party’s vision,” a party leader explained.

“The difference is that unlike in the past, these are not promises, so the party cannot be held to them. However, it is still better to release the vision document to the public, so that voters get to know it before they go in to vote.”

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