IN an attempt to get more seats in West Bengal, the BJP led by Prime Minister Modi and his right-hand man Amit Shah, have been vigorously fanning the flames of religious division and animosity during their campaigning in the state. This has taken the form of openly talking about throwing out so-called illegal immigrants into the Bay of Bengal, of imposing the National Register of Citizens in the state and repeatedly, in meeting after meeting, alleging that the Hindu community is under siege in Bengal.
PRIME Minister Modi has been leading a frenetic election campaign, flying from one corner of the country to another, addressing public meetings. He sets the agenda for his party, and whatever he says, is quickly repeated by innumerable BJP leaders and activists. Corporate owned TV channels and newspapers, cravenly repeat his most juicy utterances.
BJP leaders in general and Narendra Modi himself in particular have sought to turn the 2019 Lok Sabha elections into a contest on the issue of “nationalism” and national security. The means they have adopted to do so completely exposes how false their claim to nationalism is and how hollow their make believe commitment to national security.
THE ruling BJP released its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections recently. Expectedly, it is full of praise for the Prime Minister Modi and his government. Also, it is bristling with wild promises, some repetitions of their 2014 pledges, some new ones.
But there are two notable aspects of this document. One is the wholesale inclusion of the RSS inspired agenda. The second is the shocking omission to address most of the key issues facing the people of the country.
THE NDA government came to power on a number of promises. Assuring affordable, accessible and effective healthcare was one of them – Swasthya Bharat Samridhha Bharat. But as in other areas, the government has miserably failed in fulfilling any of its assurances in the health sector too. Over its five-year tenure, the NDA government led by Modi has on the one hand, starved the health sector of crucial financial resources, and on the other, it has brazenly given incentives to the private sector, including changes in policy towards increasing commercialisation of health services.
WHILE the BJP manifesto had claimed that it will link MGNREGS to agriculture, nothing has happened to strengthen and expand it. No increase in MGNREGS allocation has been made even in the latest Budget. Rs 55,000 crore allotted is exactly the same as the revised estimate for 2017-18. Even by conservative estimates, more than Rs 80,000 crores will be required for the proper implementation of the programme.
ELECTION Manifesto of BJP(2014) had declared that “BJP commits highest priority to agricultural growth, increase in farmer's income and rural development”. The five years of BJP rule proves to be a period of betrayal of promises.
THE Modi government’s disastrous economic policies have pushed India into a furnace of joblessness. Latest CMIE data shows that the unemployment rate in India was 8.6 per cent in the first week of February 2019. This is the highest level since September 2016, that is, in 127 weeks. In February, a report prepared by the NSSO was leaked by a newspaper which showed that the unemployment rate in 2017-18 had hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent.