Ahmedabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday released its election manifesto called Sankalp Patra (vision document) for Gujarat just a day before polling for the first phase of Gujarat elections on 9 December.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, while releasing the BJP manifesto in Ahmedabad, criticized the Congress’s promises on reservation and financial concessions in its manifesto as “constitutionally impossible" and “financially improbable if not impossible".
The finance minister quoted recent figures released by rating agency Crisil, which ranked Gujarat at the top among big states, with the highest GSDP (gross state domestic product) growth in the last five years.
“Gujarat has recorded an average growth rate of 10% in last five years and this happened at a time when there was no boom in the global or national economy. Earlier, China used to have such double-digit growth. The statistics speak for themselves and answers those who question Gujarat’s development model," Jaitley said.
He said the BJP did not violate the model code of conduct as the manifesto did not display the photo of any candidate or mention the constituencies that would vote.
The Congress has criticized the BJP for releasing its manifesto so late.
Jaitley said the BJP manifesto also focuses on maintaining Gujarat’s high growth rate in the coming years. “Infrastructure, port economy, agriculture growth, health and education, weaker sections are the focus areas of our Sankalp Patra. We will work to keep Gujarat united and focus on all sections of society," Jaitley said. Hitting out at the Congress over its campaign promises, Jaitley said the concessions offered by the party looked “financially improbable".
Against the state’s revenue of Rs90,000 crore, the party has promised additional financial concessions worth Rs1.21 trillion, he pointed out, adding that the Congress has also promised to waive Rs20,000 crore of farm loans.
“This means that the revenue will drop to Rs70,000 crore and then you have to pay salaries, administration cost, infrastructure building and for growth," Jaitley said.
About the Congress’s promises of reservations for the Patidar community, Jaitley said that it was nothing but a “constitutional impossibility" that quotas could go beyond 50%. The finance minister also said many of the promises made in the Congress manifesto had already been fulfilled by the BJP government.
On Thursday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the BJP had shown “unbelievable disrespect" to the people of Gujarat.
“Campaigning is over and still no mention of a manifesto for the people, no vision and no ideas presented for Gujarat’s future," Gandhi had said on his official Twitter handle.
Voting in 89 constituencies of Saurashtra and the South Gujarat region will be held in the first phase on Saturday, while the remaining 93 constituencies in the central and northern regions will go to polls on 14 December.
The counting of votes polled in Gujarat elections will be taken up on 18 December.