THEMES AND PROGRAMS
A guide by images to the Indian election campaign
“People in India face various problems on day-to-day basis. For many, the basics of life continue to remain a struggle. Subjects such as water, electricity, rising prices, medical facilities etc. are common to all class and type of people. This is a compilation of various factors that are directly or indirectly related to people’s problems and often become the reason for their vote and choice of the political party during elections. Some of the images refer to specific people as well, for example, Muslim minority, farmers, armed forces etc. The political parties in India release their respective manifestos prior to the election period, containing in them the various issues they plan to deal with and how. It is a commitment to the citizens in return for their votes.
Indians faced a lot of problems in 2013 when the price of onion shot through the roof. The price breached a barrier of sorts and touched a record 100-rupees-a-kilo. Being a common man’s vegetable, it became very difficult for many to afford onions. Many restaurants were seen raising their menu prices for dishes involving onions. The reasons cited were heavy unseasonal rains and hoarding by greedy traders. The government failed to foresee the price climb despite the rainfall pattern and, further, neglected cracking down on trader cartels. The rival BJP took advantage of the middle class Indians’ anguish to illustrate the Congress Party’s callousness towards the poor. This is an example of how political parties exploit situations in order to gain the confidence of people for future.
I decided to pick out a few pointers from the manifestos of the three leading political parties, to look into the promises they offer to the citizens, during the elections, in order to gain their vote.”
BJP – BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY
For Hindu nationalism the battle against inflation and for drinkable water for all go hand in hand with the defense of minorities
1. BJP ON RISING PRICES (FOOD)
Runaway food inflation has crippled household budgets and contributed to the overall inflationary trend under the Congress-led UPA’s watch. Even worse, the food and nutritional security of millions is threatened. However, the Congress-led UPA government has remained insensitive and indifferent to the plight of the people; tying itself into knots with short-term, mis-directed steps. The BJP-led NDA Government’s record of holding the prices is a demonstration of our commitment to break the vicious cycle of high inflation and high interest rates. Our immediate task will be to rein in inflation by several steps, such as:
- put in place strict measures and special Courts to stop hoarding and black marketing.
- setting up a Price Stabilisation Fund.
- unbundle FCI operations into procurement, storage and distribution for greater efficiency.
- leverage on technology to disseminate Real time data, especially to farmers – on production, prices, imports, stocks and overall availability.
- evolve a single ‘National Agriculture Market’.
- promote and support area specific crops and vegetables linked to food habits of the people.
2. BJP ON MINORITIES – MUSLIMS
It is unfortunate that even after several decades of independence, a large section of the minority, and especially Muslim community continues to be stymied in poverty. Modern India must be a nation of equal opportunity. We will:
- Strengthen and modernize minority educational systems and institutions, dovetailing them with modern requirements. National Madrasa modernization programme would be initiated.
- Empower with vibrancy in Livelihood and Entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Augment their traditional artisanship and entrepreneurial skill, which are a backbone of our cottage and small-scale industry – strengthening these sectors through better market linkages, branding and access to credit.
- Empower Waqf Boards in consultation with religious leaders; taking steps to remove encroachments from and unauthorized occupation of Waqf properties.
- Curate their rich heritage and culture – maintenance and restoration of heritage sites; digitization of archives; preservation and promotion of Urdu.
- Ensure a peaceful and secure environment, where there is no place for either the perpetrators or exploiters of fear.
3. BJP ON HOUSING and WATER
We will roll out a massive Low cost Housing programme to ensure that by the time the nation completes 75 years of its Independence, every family will have a pucca (permanent) house of its own. It will be an innovatively designed scheme that dovetails various existing programs and also encourages the housing sector by appropriate policy interventions and credit availability including interest subventions, where necessary. Our proposed programme will further ensure that these houses are equipped with the basic facilities of toilet, piped water supply, electricity and proper Access.
Trends indicate that India would be a ‘water stressed’ state by 2050, and the gap between the demand and supply would be 50%. BJP recognizes the seriousness of the issue. Also, most importantly, potable drinking water is not available to the entire population despite more than six decades of independence. Water is a dwindling resource, with the threat of water scarcity looming large. We will address this in a comprehensive manner across multiple dimensions. BJP remains committed to giving high priority to water security.
- We will launch multi-pronged ‘water strategy’ for reducing farmer’s dependence on monsoon. Increase irrigated land by completing the long pending irrigation projects on priority.
- We will nurture ground water recharge harnessing rain water to reduce dependence on ground water.
- Encourage efficient use, water conservation, recycling and rain water harvesting.
- Desalination plants for drinking water supply in coastal cities.
- To ensure drinking water security to all. We will:• Encourage setting up of drinking water supply grid in water scarce areas.
• Promote decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed water resource management, water supply and environmental sanitation.
• Facilitate piped water to all households.
AAP – AAM AADMI PARTY
What with people’s rights and war against corruption, the Common Man Party wants to clean up politics
1. AAP ON CORRUPTION
The AAP is committed to bringing in a strong anti-graft legislation, the Jan Lokpal Bill. The provisions of the bill will include –
- All public officials (including the PM, Union Minister and MP’s) of the Union Government shall fall within the purview of the investigation of the Lokpal. Public officials will be required to finish an annual declaration of assets. Any undeclared assets will be liable for confiscation.
- Any public official found guilty of corruption would be removed from their position and sentenced to prison. Their property will be confiscated.
- Time bound investigation and trial will be introduced incase of corruption.
- The Lokpal will have the power to initiate investigations and prosecution against those charged with corruption. The organization will have administrative, fiscal and investigative autonomy. The CBI will be brought under the administrative control of the Lokpal, so that the investigating machinery can be made independent of the government.
- Whistleblowers will be provided protection and rewarded for their contribution towards creating a just system.
2. AAP ON POLICING
Today the common man does not see the police as a provider of security, but as a source of oppression and harassment. Police continues to be a colonial institution fundamentally anti-people in its orientation, an extended arm of the regime and often law unto itself. Principle of Swaraj requires a fundamental orientation to make the Police people friendly. Therefore, police reforms should aim at greater accountability of the police to the people.
- Implementation of the Supreme Court judgement on Police reforms, giving the Police greater functional autonomy from the misuse by the political executive.
- Accountability of the police to the local Gram Sabha.
- Separate powers of maintenance of law and order and investigation to two separate wings of the Police. Power of custody to be removed from the Police. All custody will be judicial and any interrogation will be done in judicial custody.
- Refusal to register an FIR by any personnel to be made a criminal offence.
- Bring about transparency in public functioning by ensuring that all public interaction in areas of a police station is video graphed. Interrogation by investigation officers of the accused also to be video graphed.
- Improve working conditions of Police personnel by making working hours not more than 8 hours per day and by putting in place fair, transparent and accessible grievance redressal mechanisms and whistleblowers protection for police personnel. The use of Police as orderlies for domestic work or as security guards by senior police officers should be abolished.
- Oppose use of large amount of Police forces for VIP security.
- Recruitment of Police personnel to be done in a standard and transparent manner to avoid possibility of corruption and favoritism. Institutionalize process of rewards for good work done by police.
3. AAP ON LAW – JUDICIARY
AAP is firmly committed to ensuring that a common citizen has access to quick, fair, affordable and accountable justice system. Some of the key issues facing the current judicial system are – inaccessibility of justice for the common citizen due to procedural complexities and physical distances from judicial structures, extreme delays in dispention of justice, poor infrastructure and human resource, lack of sensitivity, elitist mindset and an absence of understanding of a common man’s problems by the judges. AAP will –
- Simplify procedures.
- Ensure petty cases that affect common man are addressed in a speedy manner.
- Create Judicial Appointment Commissions (JAC) both at the State and National Level to make the selection process of judges for the lower and the higher courts transparent.
- Make it a mandatory requirement (in line with the underlying Jan Lokpal) for declaration and full disclosure of assets of judges and as a corollary, the subjection of any undeclared assets to seizure.
- Set up fast track courts at all levels of Judiciary.
- Double the number of courts and judicial strength at sub ordinate levels in 5 years.
- Improve the infrastructure present in courts, including computerization, in order to make them more efficient.
INC – INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
Great attention to women’s rights in the Government party program
1. CONGRESS ON WOMEN’S SAFETY AND EMPOWERMENT
The Indian National Congress will ensure the safety and security of our women We will provide them equal access to social, economic and political opportunities.
The Indian National Congress is a party that has gone beyond the rhetoric and hyperbole relied on by most parties when it comes to the empowerment of women. The Indian National Congress has enacted several women oriented Acts, including the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
- The Indian National Congress is committed to the enactment of the Women’s Reservation Bill to reserve 33 % of all seats in the Lok Sabha, and in all State legislative assemblies for women.
- We will initiate immediate action to formulate a Citizens Charter for Women’s Safety and Security.
- Fast-Track Courts will be established with ‘in-camera’ proceedings facilities in State headquarters and in regional centers. The purpose of these Courts will be solely to address crimes against women. Mandatory procedure for the rapid conclusion of cases where custody of children is involved shall be put in place.
- We will ensure that all measures are taken to make women feel safe and protected. We will expedite such measures as the creation of functional helplines in all major towns and cities and rural areas for prompt grievance redressal for women, exclusive 24-hour transport facilities and gender sensitivity classes for police men and women, particularly in registering and investigating complaints made by women.
- The Indian National Congress will strive to clear all pending compensations to women with missing husbands in areas of unrest and conflict and especially border areas including providing employment to war widows and their families.
- The Indian National Congress is deeply distressed with the continued sexual exploitation of tribal girls at various places, such as hostels, and continued trafficking in young women belonging to tribal communities. as hostels, and continued trafficking in young women belonging to tribal communities. This will get the highest priority and will be taken up with all State governments and special Schemes will be introduced, like through the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) for securing their livelihoods.
- The Indian National Congress will work with women’s Self-Help-Groups for the distribution of free sanitary napkins for adolescent girls.
2. CONGRESS ON ENERGY (ELECTRICITY, PETROL, GAS CYLINDERS)
- We will effectively implement the National Mission on Energy Efficiency to improve energy efficiency in all areas of the economy including power, transport, urban housing, consumer goods and in rural housing.
- We will work to ensure greater access to electricity; 100% access in urban from current 94% and 90% access in rural areas from current 67.3% under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).
- We are mindful of the fact that while we have worked to increase access to electricity, its availability remains an area of concern. The Indian National Congress will work to improve the quality and unit consumption of electricity in rural areas.
- Women being the main energy users and primary energy suppliers are worst affected by restricted LPG supply. There still exists a strong disparity between urban and rural areas. We need to work effectively to increase household access to LPG and kerosene, especially the availability to rural households.
3. CONGRESS ON MEDICAL FACILITIES
- The Indian National Congress will increase health expenditure to 3% of GDP and provide universal and quality health care for all Indians.
- We were the first party to implement development policies as human rights. To strengthen this framework, we now pledge to enact a Right to Health to ensure that all people obtain easily accessible, quality health services, based on a combination of public provision and social insurance.
- We will provide for 5 state of the art mobile health care vans in every district, equipped with x-ray and other equipment, to provide health care check ups including mammography, blood tests, etc.
- Primary health care infrastructure will be strengthened right up to the point of the community health centre and continuity of care would be assured.