Posts tagged ‘political parties’


Promises and more promises: India’s parties pitch their visions | India Insight

Campaign season in India means it’s also promise season, and political parties aren’t short on pledges for what they would do if they come to power after election results come out in May. From the Tamil Nadu-based MDMK party’s pledge to rename the country “The United States of India” to the Odisha-based BJD‘s promise to “guarantee” development projects, there are plenty of promises floating around to help parties capture, retain or regain power.

There has been plenty of coverage of the manifestos from the biggest national parties, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, so here are some highlights from the others.

Lok Satta Party: This Andhra Pradesh-based party has promised to nationalise the sale of liquor and to limit the number of stores where people can buy it. Families of liquor “victims,“ meanwhile, would get pensions.

BJD: In power for more than 10 years, the Biju Janata Dal of Odisha has promised to guarantee primary infrastructure needs in the state. It will also make it mandatory for industry to provide shares in projects to people whose land they buy for their projects.

DMK: The former ally of the ruling Congress party will oppose reservation, the setting aside of government jobs for members of groups recognized by the government as disadvantaged, based on economic criteria. It would, however, support caste-based reservation in the private sector. It also proposes that only qualified Tamil people be appointed as India’s envoys to the nations where Tamils live in considerable numbers. The party has also included not “bashing” other parties in their pitch.

AIADMK: Tamil Nadu’s ruling party says it would stop the sale and privatisation of state-owned companies. To stabilise the rupee, the AIADMK says it would not encourage short-term capital flows and will support long-term foreign direct investment.

CPI-Marxist: This Leftist party favours the production of goods for mass consumption rather than “unsustainable” luxury goods. It also would enforce a code of conduct for all elected representatives against sexist language. CPI-M favours revising the India-U.S. nuclear deal and will seek removal of nuclear weapons from the U.S. military base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

TMC: West Bengal’s ruling party, the Trinamool Congress, has promised it will provide a stipend and medical insurance to artists and folk performers. It has also promised to form a court to try human rights violations.

TRS: With the new state of Telangana to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti says it will give a special “Telangana increment” to government employees to celebrate the state’s formation later this year.

JD(U): The Janata Dal (United) manifesto has promised legislation for the safety and security of migrant workers in India. It wants a commission to study the socio-economic condition of poor upper caste people to draft welfare measures for them.

MDMK: An ally of the BJP in Tamil Nadu, MDMK promises to rename the country “United States of India” to put emphasis on the federal structure. It wants to lift the ban on the LTTE, the Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka.

AAP: The Aam Aadmi Party, or common man party, is interested in animal welfare as well as human. It wants to protect the dignity of animals used in industries “for food, clothing and entertainment.” To encourage young people to join politics, it favours allowing 21-year-olds to run for office (the current minimum age is 25). Apart from laws to deal with violence against women, it promises long-term public education programmes to end the culture of gender-based discrimination. It has some provisions to regulate media as well.

BSP: The Bahujan Samaj Party of Uttar Pradesh, which counts millions of Dalits among its supporters, did not release any election pitch. “We do not release manifestos as we believe more in doing real development work for the people rather than making hollow claims which are never realised,” party chief and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati declared at a rally.

via Promises and more promises: India’s parties pitch their visions | India Insight.

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Firms Give Big Backing to Indian Politics – India Real Time – WSJ

Note that unlike Western businesses that tend to make doantions to one of the main parites, Indian businesses hedge theor bets and donate to both the main parties.

“Which Indian businessman has previously claimed not to be a big fan of Indian politics? Answer: Ratan Tata, the former chairman of one of the world’s best-known Indian companies.

Still, his firm is among dozens of Indian conglomerates pumping millions of dollars into political campaigns across India each year. And unlike billion-dollar American companies who either lean left or right, big firms here extend support – at least monetarily – to both the secular Congress and the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, the two largest parties in India.

That was one of the several findings by Association for Democratic Reforms, a New Delhi-based think-tank, which recently analyzed documents detailing donations in the run-up to federal polls this year.

ADR, through analysis of documents submitted to the Election Commission of India, estimated that the two parties had collectively raised about 4.13 billion rupees ($66 million) from the start of 2004 through 2012, the vast majority of which, 3.64 billion rupees ($58 million) or about 87%, came from Indian corporations.

India is expected to go to polls in May and parties likely to rely heavily on donations for funding. Although much is widely known to be off the books, according to ADR, a breakdown of public donations shows that business is one of the largest funding sources for both parties.

The country’s bureaucracy has often been dubbed a nightmare for businesses, with “widespread corruption and fickle regulations” making business a “frustrating and expensive” affair, as this Hong Kong-based consultancy notes. But that hasn’t deterred corporate houses from donating to political parties who, when in office, implement and introduce legislative red tape.

“Companies obviously want to be in the good books of both parties,” Anurag Mittal, who headed research for the ADR report, said about the corporates’ decision to fund parties with opposing ideologies. “They’re playing it safe; they want their businesses to remain intact irrespective of whoever comes to power,” he added.

The Congress, which swept national polls in 2004 and 2009, received 1.87 billion rupees ($30 million) in donations between 2004 to 2012. About 1.72 billion rupees ($27 million), or 92% of these funds, came from business houses.

Meanwhile, the BJP generated marginally more, raising 2.26 billion rupees ($36 million) in the same period. But the conservative Hindu party, which boycotted recent proposals to attract foreign investors, wasn’t quite as popular in the business world. Around 85% or 1.92 billion ($31 million) of donations to the party came from corporations.

via Firms Give Big Backing to Indian Politics – India Real Time – WSJ.

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Confusion over Indian election symbols used for millions of illiterate voters | The Times

A curious contest is heating up among India’s political parties as the country prepares for the biggest democratic exercise in history when 714 million voters go to the polls in the spring.

Parties are fighting to secure the right to symbols they hope will appeal to hundreds of millions of India’s illiterate voters.

For decades, when Indians have entered the polling booth they have been presented not just with a list of parties and candidates, but also a variety of household items sketched on the ballot paper to help the 1 in 4 voters who cannot read.

For the ruling Congress Party it is an open palm. For India’s main opposition party, the BJP, it is a blossoming lotus flower.

Whistles, coconuts, walking sticks, nail clippers, cauliflowers and toothbrushes have all been used as political symbols upon which illiterate voters can press a thumb print to mark their choice of party.

The Rashtriya Ulama Council uses a kettle, while the Republican Party of India uses a refrigerator. The Aadarshwadi Congress Party uses a batsman at the crease.

However, in India’s vibrant and chaotic democracy, some popular symbols such as the elephant or clock are often claimed by several parties, leading to squabbles over which one has the right to use them.

A foretaste of the turmoil ahead was offered this week, when two parties in the Delhi assembly elections, due to be held tomorrow, clashed over the right to use the bicycle, a perennial favourite.

Only after intervention by election officials did the parties grudgingly agree to a compromise deal under which the Samajwadi Party (SP) will fight under the banner of the glass tumbler, while the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party (JKPP) will plump for the instant camera.

Adding to potential confusion among voters, in another nearby constituency, Ballimaran, the SP is fighting under the symbol of the cup-and-saucer while the JKPP is running under the ceiling fan.

via Confusion over Indian election symbols used for millions of illiterate voters | The Times.

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