NEW DELHI: India’s prime ministerial frontrunner Narendra Modi pledged good governance and development Monday as he released his party’s delayed manifesto that also included controversial nationalist policies.
Modi and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders unveiled their blueprint for government just hours after polls opened in the world’s biggest election, which they are widely expected to win.
“Good governance and development (are) the two issues on which we are fighting these elections,” Modi, the party’s prime ministerial candidate, said at party headquarters in New Delhi.
The 52-page manifesto welcomed foreign direct investment by almost all companies — except by overseas supermarkets — in a bid to create much-needed jobs and kickstart the flagging economy.
The BJP also pledged to simplify the taxation system, review labor laws and focus on infrastructure such as new cities, high-speed railways and broadband Internet.
The party, voted out of power in 2004, also stuck to controversial nationalist ideals which worry religious minorities, particularly Muslims, in India.
The manifesto also promised BJP support to end the slaughter of cows and to repeal special autonomous rights granted to Kashmir.
The BJP also reiterated its intention to draft a uniform civil code for all Indians.
Senior BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi stressed that “Hindutva” (a Hindu nationalist agenda) was not on the election agenda.