BJP manifestos have been promising Ram Mandir since 1996

Written by SabrangIndia | Published on: April 9, 2019

Reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies too has remained an election pledge since it was first mentioned by the BJP in its 1996 manifesto. BJP had been promising the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley since 2009, and the scrapping of Article 370 since 1984.


BJP Manifesto
 
New Delhi: The BJP has been promising to build a grand Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya since 1991 -- even before the mosque was razed.
 
Ram Mandir has featured in every Lok Sabha manifesto released by the BJP since 1996, the first Lok Sabha polls since the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of 1992 which eventually led to the demolition of Babri Masjid and propelled the BJP to electoral success.
 
The promise to build a grand Ram Mandir has been the only consistent promise made by the BJP in its election manifestoes, even while the 'manifesto' itself underwent changes and came to be referred to by the party as a 'Sankalp Patra'.
 
The promise of ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’ has almost always found a place in all of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s election manifestos for the last 23 years.
 
In light of the ‘Sankalp Patra’ for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, here’s a timeline of the BJP manifestoes since 1996 made by The Quint.
 
1996:
 
The BJP, for the first time, promised to construct a “magnificent Shri Ram Mandir at Janmasthan in Ayodhya” and prioritised the issue on Page 12 of its manifesto.
 
Promise: The manifesto read, “On coming to power, the BJP Government will facilitate the construction of a magnificent Shri Ram Mandir at Janmasthan in Ayodhya which will be a tribute to Bharat Mata. This dream moves millions of people in our land; the concept of Rama lies at the core of their consciousness.”
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
Neither the BJP nor the Congress could secure a majority, resulting in a hung Parliament. The BJP led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had secured the single largest majority and went on to form the government, which lasted for only 13 days. The 11th Lok Sabha saw three prime ministers in two years and the country went back to polls in 1998.
 
1998:
 
Once again, the Ram Mandir issue found a mention in Page 8 of the BJP’s manifesto. It read, “The BJP is committed to facilitating the construction of a magnificent Shri Ram Mandir at Ram Janmasthan in Ayodhya where a makeshift temple already exists. Shri Ram lies at the core of Indian consciousness. The BJP will explore all consensual, legal and constitutional means to facilitate the construction of Shri Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.”
 
The manifesto also added, “The BJP is convinced that Hindutva has the immense potentiality to re-energize this nation and strengthen and discipline it to undertake the arduous task of nation-building. This can and does trigger a higher level of patriotism that can transform the country to greater levels of efficiency and performance. It is with such integrative ideas in mind, the BJP joined the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for the construction of Shri Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.”
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
The result of 1998 elections were also indecisive with no party or alliance being able to secure a strong majority. However, BJP’s Vajpayee regained the position of prime minister after getting support from 286 members out of 545. But this government, too, didn’t last long.
 
1999
 
There was a single NDA manifesto which surprisingly doesn’t have even one mention of the Ram Mandir issue.
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
The Vajpayee-led government fell apart when he failed to win a confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by a single vote due to the withdrawal by AIADMK and BSP, plunging the country into another round of elections after the Kargil war. In 1999, Vajpayee came back to power and served a full five-year term till 2004.
 
2004:
 
In 2004, it was interesting to note the difference in tone on the Mandir issue in the NDA’s manifesto and the BJP’s vision document.
 
While the NDA’s manifesto spoke more about an “early and amicable resolution of the Ayodhya issue”, the BJP’s vision document, apart from talking about dialogue, emphasised how the Ram Mandir is crucial for Hindu sentiments: “The BJP reaffirms its commitment to the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. As Maryada Purushottam, Ram is an inspiring cultural symbol of India. His birthplace in Ayodhya is also associated with the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus. The BJP remains committed to its stand that the judiciary’s verdict in this matter should be accepted by all.”
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
The BJP alone had secured 138 votes and the Congress had got 145 but the grand old party managed to stitch together an alliance with more than 335 seats and returned to power after a gap of eight years.
 
2009:
The temple issue being pushed to Page 48 of the manifesto was seen by a lot of political analysts as the BJP’s attempt to appease its allies. The manifesto read, “There is an overwhelming desire of the people in India and abroad to have a grand temple at the birthplace of Sri Ram in Ayodhya. The BJP will explore all possibilities, including negotiations and judicial proceedings, to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
The UPA led by the Congress again came to power with the BJP’s seat share going down by 22 seats to 116.
 
2014:
 
The BJP’s 2014 election promise of Ram temple was almost reduced to two lines of a cosmetic mention which read, “Ram Mandir: BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
 
Lok Sabha Election Result:
 
The BJP of the NDA led by Narendra Modi swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with 282 out of 543 seats.
 
2017 UP Assembly polls
 
“BJP reiterates its position on Ram Temple – Party will explore every possibility under the constitutional provision for construction of Ram Temple.”
 
2019:
 
The 2019 manifesto says almost the same thing as 2014. It reads, “We reiterate our stand on Ram Mandir. We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
 
The Mandir theme rose suddenly in shrillness a few months ago, with the RSS and the VHP holding rallies across Uttar Pradesh and Delhi demanding the construction of the Ram temple. The leaders of both organisations expressed displeasure at the Modi government not being able to fulfil its Ram Mandir promise.
 
Women’s reservation in Parliament an election pledge since 1996
 
And like the Ram temple, 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies too has remained an election pledge since it was first mentioned by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its 1996 manifesto.
 
The BJP made its first commitment in an election manifesto in 1996 "to make women real participants in a resurgent India of the 21st century".
 
In 1998, the party promised it will "immediately seek the passage of the Bill reserving 33 per cent seats for women in all elected bodies, including the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies".
 
The issue came up again came up in 1999, 2004, 2009 and also in 2014.
 
The latest manifesto says: "Women's welfare and development will be accorded a high priority at all levels within the government and the BJP is committed to 33 per cent reservation in parliament and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment."
 
Both issues figure prominently in the 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto issued on Monday.
 
Stance on Article 370 since 1984

Omar Abdullah also retweeted Congress leader Salman Anees Soz, who said that the BJP had been promising the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley since 2009, and the scrapping of Article 370 since 1984.


 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the manifesto, titled ‘Sankalpit Bharat, Sashakt Bharat’ (Determined India, Empowered India), in the presence of party chief Amit Shah and other top leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
 
The ‘Sankalp Patra’ comes three days before the first of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections begin on April 11.