The political parties are once again out with their manifestos. However, people have little faith in their promises. Their experience has told them that most of the promises are never going to be fulfilled. Yet it would be interesting to look at them.
What the Dravida parties started is now becoming the trend at the national level. They had promised items like television which is not far removed from paying cash to the voters. Then everybody was promising rice at lower prices. This itself cannot be considered as a wrong measure as many had been hit by the recent policies. However, it is an ad hoc measures in lieu of concrete steps to improve the lot of farmers, artisans and others by providing them market and employment.
The Congress is promising subsidised food scheme for the poor, interest relief to farmers, job guarantees and the like. It says that it would not follow blind privatisation. It will allow foreign investments in mining. It will ensure energy security and intensify involvement of overseas Indians in development.
The BJP has promises laptops and broad band connections. It has also come out with its manifesto promising grains at lower prices, assured income to farmers, reservation for women and the like. For the corporates, there would be good news in the form of lower taxes and interest rates, though that is not explicitly stated.
Despite all the promises, it appears that whether it is the BJP or the Congress, they would continue to cater to the upper and middle classes, ignoring the victims of their policies as long as they can.
(Updated on April 4, 2009)