The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held "virtual rallies" across India and organising more than 1,000 conferences online last week to mark the first anniversary of the Narendra Modi government's second term.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Council of Ministers were sworn in for the second term on May 26, 2019, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had taken office on May 30.
The party claims that the past one year has been full of “historic achievements” that “will be written in golden letters in history”.
Some of these achievements, as claimed by the BJP, were highlighted in PM Modi’s letter to citizens on May 30. The letter was written to mark the first anniversary of his government’s second term.
“Today, 130 crore people feel involved and integrated in the development trajectory of the nation.The light of ‘Jan Shakti’ and ‘Rashtra Shakti’ has ignited the entire nation. Powered by the Mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ India is marching forward in all spheres.” PM Modi said.
Experts and political observers suggest that many of the moves initiated by the BJP in the past 12 months were aimed at fulfilling key promises it had made in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto. Many of these promises have been part of the saffron party’s agenda for a long time.
Here are some of the key manifesto promises the BJP fulfilled in the past year:
On August 5, 2019, months after the second term began, the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave special provisions to the then state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government also bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh. While J&K is expected to have its own Legislature, Ladakh will not.
The state, and especially the Kashmir Valley, was placed under strict restrictions while this move was undertaken. Some restrictions such as ban on 4G internet service in Kashmir, remain in place till date.
Law against Triple Talaq
In early August, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the triple talaq bill passed by Parliament, turning it into a law which made the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence.
The law had been in works for a while. However, the bill could not make it through the Rajya Sabha during the first term of PM Modi’s government, although it was passed by Lok Sabha.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was in works for a while, was passed by Parliament and turned it into an Act after the President’s assent.
According to the amended citizenship law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be eligible for Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.
Those opposing the amended law say it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA, along with the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), is intended to target India’s Muslim community.
However, the BJP-led central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not take away citizenship from anyone.
The development sparked massive protests, some turning violent, against the legislation across the country. Many states and petitioners moved the Supreme Court seeking challenging the constitutional validity of the Act. The matter is still pending before the highest court.
Ayodhya verdict and Centre's setting up temple trust
On February 5, PM Modi informed Parliament that the Cabinet had approved setting up of a trust to construct a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh as per the Supreme Court’s November 9, 2019 verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.
While the move was based on the top court’s ruling, this was seen by many as the BJP meeting one of its key manifesto promises.
A number of promises made in the 2019 general election manifesto are yet to be fulfilled by the NDA government. These include doubling farmers’ income by 2022, ensuring a pucca house to every family, completion of the dedicated freight corridor project by 2022, establishing 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres under Ayushman Bharat and ensuring availability of banking services within 5 kms of every individual. Some of these are also reportedly under process.Yet, the novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted the country and its economy. The healthcare crisis and economic revival are likely to be the areas of focus for the Centre in the next 12 months.