Election promises: Some fulfilled, many forgotten

Riding on a strong anti-Congress wave, the BJP swept almost the entire country in 2014 under its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Elections are fought on promises which form the main fulcrum of trust between the electorate and the politicians seeking votes. More often than not, a majority of these promises remain unfulfilled, either because they are too ambitious to be fulfilled or because the political will is simply not there to ensure their implementation.

With 2019 Lok Sabha polls just days away, the Asian Age takes a look at some major promises made by the Congress and its allies in 2009 and the BJP-led NDA in 2014, and how many of them were actually fulfilled.

Riding on a strong anti-Congress wave, the BJP swept almost the entire country in 2014 under its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The NDA government led by Mr Modi had prioritised job creation as one of the major promises. However, after the National Sample Survey Office’s Periodic Labour Force Survey recently pointed out that unemployment rate in India was at a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, it led to a major political brouhaha and raised a big question mark on the NDA government’s claims on job creation.

For the farmers, the BJP had in its 2014 manifesto promised to give a minimum support price (MSP) that is 50 per cent higher than cost of production. The Modi government partially managed to deliver this promise, however, the hike in the MSP of rabi crops in October 2018 did not translate into any major relief for farmers, as the enhanced MSP was not around the promised 50 per cent.

Bringing back black money was also another significant poll plank of the BJP in 2014, however, after setting up a special investigation team on it, there was not much headway in that direction.

The ambitious plan to run bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai too is taking time to take off due to land acquisition delays and farmers’ protests. The BJP manifesto had also promised 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies, but the promise has remained unfulfilled.

On its part, the BJP claims that over 520 of a total of 549 assurances given in its 2014 manifesto are either met or work on them is going on.

The Congress also claims that it managed to enact key Acts to fulfil promises made in its 2009 manifesto. The party had promised loan waiver for farmers to the tune of `60,000 crore, which proved to be a game changer for it and ensured its return to power as UPA-II. The loans were indeed waived off, however, it led to farmers not paying back their existing credits to banks.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, fulfilled the UPA’s key promise made in 2009 on giving farmers more than the market rate for land acquisition and the National Food Security Act, 2013, paved the way for giving subsidised foodgrain to the vulnerable sections.

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