News / Asia

In Election Manifesto, India’s Ruling Party Promises Inclusive Growth

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi hold their party's manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, March 26, 2014.
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi hold their party's manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi, March 26, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s ruling Congress party has promised inclusive growth and unveiled a raft of anti-poverty policies as it seeks to woo voters in general elections starting April 7. As polls forecast major losses for the Congress party, its top leader, Rahul Gandhi, has mounted a sharp attack on the party’s main opponent.    
 
A right to health care and housing, pensions for the elderly and disabled and the creation of 100 million new jobs are among the measures India's ruling Congress party promised as it unveiled its election manifesto in New Delhi Wednesday.
 
Hurt by public anger over a series of corruption scandals and high inflation, polls have forecast that the party will be unable to win a third term in office in elections starting next month.
 
Seeking to wrest back the initiative from its main rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress is focusing on programs to woo the poor, who make up the bulk of the country’s 814-million electorate and the party's core constituency. The Congress Party calls its manifesto “Your Voice, Our Pledge.”
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his party will revive the declining economy and its manufacturing sector to lift millions of people out of poverty.  “Growth by itself is not sufficient to achieve the solid results of an inclusive growth process. It needs to be backed by adequate concern about education, about health, about the needs of our women, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes,” he said.
 
Disillusioned by the Congress Party, which is being blamed for the plummeting economy, most business leaders are backing the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP’s main focus has been on the need for more development, jobs and investment in India.
 
But the incumbent party is promising to balance the interests of both big business and the poor. Rahul Gandhi is leading Congress' electoral campaign.
 
“The only way India is going to move forward is with a partnership that includes the poor, that includes the dispossessed and includes business. If you try to construct a government model that focuses only on business or only on the poor you will not take India forward,” Gandhi said.
 
The ruling Congress Party is also pledging to be more inclusive than its main opposition. Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the upcoming elections are not just about economic and social programs, but her party’s fight to keep India’s secular fabric intact.
 
The comments directly target the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Modi’s critics question his commitment to secularism and accuse of him of not doing enough to stop riots which killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in his Gujarat state in 2002.
 
Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi said that Modi represents a vision that is “exclusionary” and will harm the country as it pits one against another.   “The issue here is an ideology and it is an ideology that is basically questioning the fundamentals of what this country stands for. It is basically questioning the idea of this country. That is why I am against him," he stated. "The real issue is the dangers represented by the ideology.”
 
The BJP dismisses the Congress Party’s criticism and says such fears are meant to woo Muslim votes. While the BJP is not forecast to win an outright majority in parliament, it is expected to unseat the Congress party.
 
A confident Gandhi however dismissed polls forecasting major losses for his party and said Wednesday that election results will surprise everyone.
   
The five-week poll will continue until May 12. Votes will be counted on May 16.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs