Hyderabad: An essential part of the election process is the release of manifestoes to outline the vision and ideas of the parties and what they will do if they are voted to power. The usual practice was to go to campaign on the basis of the manifestoes. Pamphlets explaining the salient features of the manifesto were distributed at public meetings.
In the ongoing Assembly campaign, almost all main parties released their manifestoes in the middle of the campaign. The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti till date has not issued its manifesto.
TRS chief and caretaker Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced the party’s partial manifesto on October 16. Briefing the media, Mr Rao said, “Since our party candidates are electioneering and facing questions from the people about what the TRS would do, we decided to announce some things for now.”
This in itself highlighted the importance to manifestoes. The Telugu Desam, Congress and BJP manifestoes and the People’s Front common minimum programme are out.
Asked about the delay with the TRS document, party manifesto committee chairman K. Kesava Rao said, “The manifesto means what you intend to do. It can be oral or it can be written, or it can be in publicity (material).”
Speaking to this newspaper, the party MP said in the past the Congress had released its national-level manifesto just three days before to polling. He said there was no “old system or new system” as far as the release of manifestoes was concerned.
The election manifesto can sometimes change the fate of political parties. In 2014, the Telugu Desam announced waiver of farm loans. YSRC president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy did not agree to match the announcement despite pressure from senior leaders.
The issue sealed the fate of the party. After the results, YSRC leaders said that they could have come to power if they had announced the measure in their manifesto.
The manifesto, however, is not a legally mandated document. TS Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said there was no need for the Election Commission to release the manifesto of any political party.
Speaking to this newspaper, he said that according to the Supreme Court direction political parties after releasing the manifesto have to submit three copies to the Election Commission and file an undertaking....