Aspiration, Pledge, Vision and Manifesto

With nothing new to offer almost all the major political parties contesting in ongoing state assembly elections released their manifestos half-heartedly, Shah Abbas takes at look at who promises what

Snapshots of election manifestos of NC, Congress and PDP.

It happens only in Kashmir. The political parties contesting elections do not want public to know their future plans much before polling. All the three main political parties in fray opted to issue their election manifestos either hours before polling or after the end of the first phase. The quick and visual difference of official documents of the main players is that NC and Congress manifesto has photographs of the Abdullah and Gandhi family members on their front and back pages respectively, while as PDP has decided to go without the photographs of Muftis on its cover.

With NC reiterating its traditional stand on issues like Article 370, revocation of AFSPA and autonomy in its nameless manifesto, its arch rival PDP has promised in “An Aspirational Agenda” to “Remodel the Political Structure, Reconstruct the Economy, Reform the Government, Revive the Civil Society and Rally the Youth” of Jammu and Kashmir apart from “Self rule”.

“The special status enshrined in Article 370 is required to empower the people of Jammu and Kashmir and help deal with the issues of identity, borders and governance,” the PDP manifesto says.

On the other hand NC’s ally Congress has failed to offer anything new and attractive to the voters in its manifesto.

It (Congress) has chosen to woo voters in the name of “development”. But the party has failed to explain the term “development” in its “Pledge for Peace, Prosperity and Progress”.

“NC has ruled the state for near about half a century and it has been promising Autonomy on every polling year,” said a political commentator adding “now it has added the revocation of AFSPA, in its latest election manifesto but everybody knows it did not do anything except issuing statements since last six years.”

But the Hindu Nationalist party, BJP has gone a mile forward in order to woo Kashmiri Pandits, by promising to reserve three out of 46 Assembly seats in Kashmir for the community.

The party also tried to flatter the Hindus of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) by promising to reserve five out of the 24 vacant seats for them. They (Hindus) have migrated to parts in Jammu region from Pakistan in 1947, officially known as refugees from PaK.

BJP has also promised to make J&K a peaceful, progressive and developed state of the Union of India through “holistic” and “inclusive” development is its “Vision Document”.

BJP and PDP have a joint promise for women of the state. Both the parties in their “Vision document” and “An Aspirational Agenda” have promised to give 33 per cent reservation to women in the legislative assembly and legislative council.

But the BJP has kept mum on Article 370 and its abrogation. This according to many commentators is an attempt to minimize the apprehensions of most of the Kashmiri minds.

National Conference has described Article 370 as the “foundation” of the state’s relationship with the rest of the country, and will oppose any attempts to tamper with it.

“Restoration of autonomy is the only viable solution to the Kashmir problem,” says the NC’s manifesto”.

While releasing the party manifesto, PCCI chief Saifuddin Soz said the Congress will constitute two fully empowered regional councils, one for Jammu and another for Kashmir.

“If elected to serve, the party will constitute two fully empowered regional councils, one for Jammu and another for Kashmir. Also separate development councils operating under the umbrella of regional councils, one for Chenab Valley and another for Pir Panchal Valley will be set up,” he said.


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