The release date of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) party manifesto has been pushed back once again. Top party sources told Business Today that the poll document would be released either on April 7 or 8.
Earlier deadlines had been March 31 and thereafter April 3.
The first round of elections is scheduled for April 7, in seven constituencies of Assam and Tripura. This is perhaps for the first time a national party is releasing its manifesto after polling has already begun.
Top sources said the initial draft of the manifesto was not approved by the party's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi. They claim he wanted the content to be more crisp. Subsequently the committee could not meet because of non-availability of all members - most of them are already involved in the election campaign.
The Congress manifesto came out on March 26.
"The party is fighting these elections with the credentials of Modi, not on the promises of the party," says a senior leader in jest. Meanwhile, the party released some of the state-level manifestoes. On Wednesday, the BJP's state unit in Delhi, for instance, released its manifesto.
The party leaders also say that there is also division in the committee on the stand to be taken on key issues such as Article 370 which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya and a uniform civil code. "These are integral issues for the party, they will be part of the manifesto as well. But the major focus this time would be around development and implementation of key projects," says one of the committee members.
All the pre-poll surveys indicate that the party is favoured to form next government. Naturally corporate houses are keen to read what party is promising and how it is presenting itself differently from others.
The manifesto is being prepared by a committee led by party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi. Last week, one of the key members of the committee, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party. Moreover, the controversy related to Joshi's own seat also delayed the whole process.
Earlier, party sources had indicated that the manifesto which bears the title 'One India, Foremost India' had various agendas such as a blueprint to provide the 24X7 electricity, allocation of natural resources, creation of 250 million jobs, agricultural reforms and creation of 100 new smart cities, linking of rivers et al would be there. Sources say Modi wanted more focus on promising the reforms in the implementation of various big ticket projects and policies, the committee is working on this.