Compared to its previous manifestos like 2004 and 2009, this time BJP has very strategically drafted its manifesto so that it remains free of controversy or any hard and fast political view on any sensitive issue which includes, Ram Mandir, Hindutva and the Kashmir issue.
Giving development and economy more importance, the issues like Ram Mandir and Kashmir issue have been also been touched but in a very subtle manner. With BJP’s firm stand on Kashmir being an Integral part of India, the manifesto this time has played it safe while framing this chapter.
The points regarding the Jammu & Kashmir issue include:
1.Dealing with Article 370 in the chapter on Jammu and Kashmir, the manifesto said “the BJP reiterates its stand on the Constitution provision and will discuss this with all stakeholders and remains committed to the abrogation of this article.Article 370 which gives the state of Jammu & Kashmir a special autonomous status for example all the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to Jammu & Kashmir always.
2.This chapter includes the safe secure return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley with full dignity. It promises that Kashmiri Pandits will be returned to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood and it will figure high on the BJP’s agenda. The Kashmiri pandits are living in exile since militancy erupted in the valley in 90s. The BJP has committed in its manifesto that it will ensure their safety and return to Kashmir which is their home-land.
3.Equal and rapid development in all the three regions of the state which includes Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. The BJP manifesto also says that it will develop all the three regions of the state in equal measure and that too very fast. The state of Jammu & Kashmir has suffered a lot in terms of development during the years of militancy in the valley due to which it lags behind in many aspects.
4.BJP manifesto also promises to provide good governance, better infra-structure, educational opportunities, healthcare, job opportunities and better quality of life to the people of the valley. Because of the militancy in the valley, everything from infra-structure to education has suffered largely. BJP promises to work on these sectors and provide a better standard of life in every way to all the regions of the state.
5.The chapter surprisingly talks about the return of the refugees from (PoK). The families and people residing in PoK who want to return to the valley, the BJP will address and weigh the options for them.