Google Search for Web:

Kajal Agrawal

A Comparison of Congress and BJP Manifestoes And What They Fail to Mention Featured

  22 April 2024

BJP should have clarified its stand on issues like restoration of complete statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and restoration of peace in Manipur. Meanwhile, the Congress should have mentioned controversial legislations like CAA and the protection of minority rights.

Comparison of the two major national parties’ manifestoes for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections reveals the similarities in their approach on major national issues and some stark differences on others. On issues like defence, national security, terrorism, foreign policy, healthcare, education and reforms concerning the economy, infrastructure, social security, judiciary and agriculture, there are more similarities than differences between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at least on paper. The major differences lie in their approach to religious and cultural rights, reservation and federalism.  

Congress names Jammu and Kashmir, NCT of Delhi, Manipur and the Institution of Governor in their manifesto and has promised a departure from the BJP’s stand. Interestingly, Congress has also promised the distribution of legislative fields in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and build a consensus on transferring some fields from List III (Concurrent List) to List II (State List).

BJP ought to have clarified its stand on issues like restoration of complete statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and offered a plan for restoration of peace in Manipur. It should have also included a strategy to ensure the effective governance in the national capital territory of Delhi. It ought to have been vocal on the protection of constitutional guarantee of rights of religious and linguistic minorities. However, the silence of BJP manifesto on the controversial National Registry of Citizens (NRC) is a matter of relief for the time being.  

Meanwhile, Congress should have made a special reference to controversial legislations like Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), draconian provisions in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and about the legal process of appointment of Election Commissioners. Though the Congress manifesto has mentioned the misuse of investigating agencies at the hand of BJP government in the last ten years, it has not mentioned a clear roadmap for freeing the institutions from the clutches of political executive of the day. It could have also made its stand clear on its commitment for preserving the religious character of every place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947 as mandated under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act. While the Congress manifesto mentions that Congress will bring a law to recognise civil unions between couples belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, it could have guaranteed them the right to marriage. 

Here is a comprehensive comparison between the manifestoes of BJP and Congress. Reference to page numbers are with respect to the manifestos of the two parties. 



Defence Vastly expand domestic defence manufacturing and exports of Made in Bharat defence equipment (pg.43) Rapidly expand domestic capacity to manufacture defence and security hardware and equipment. (pg.39)
National Security Introduce technological solutions on fenced portions to make fencing smarter. 



We will work to restore the status quo ante on our borders with China and to ensure that areas where both armies patrolled in the past are again accessible to our soldiers. We will take the necessary steps to adjust our policy towards China until this is achieved. 




We have followed a zero tolerance policy on terrorism. We remain committed to keep our country and citizens safe.(pg.38)

Congress will take up the two subjects, NATGRID and  National Counter-Terrorism Centre. Complete the work, and operationalize them within one year (pg.39)


Congress is implacably opposed to terrorism anywhere in the world. We will work with other countries to eliminate terrorist groups, terrorist acts and cross-border terrorism.


Engagement with Pakistan depends fundamentally on its willingness and ability to end cross-border terrorism. 


Foreign Policy We will further consolidate Bharat’s position as a Voice of the Global South by using the Prime Minister’s visionary 5S approach of Samman, Samvad, Sahyog, Shanti and Samriddhi.



Congress affirms and will uphold continuity in India’s foreign policy. (Nehruvian). 


There was a consensus on foreign policy since Independence. Unfortunately, in many areas, foreign policy under the BJP/NDA government has witnessed marked departures from this consensus, notably on the ongoing Gaza conflict. Congress pledges to restore India’s global reputation as a voice of peace and moderation in world affairs. 

Congress re-affirms its firm belief in the continued relevance of the established policy of peaceful coexistence, strategic autonomy in thought and action, and increased bilateral engagement in its relations with the countries of the world. 


Reforms Regulatory reforms like enabling automatic approvals for standard housing designs, among others. (pg.13)


Establishing Khadi as a global brand (pg.31)

Regulatory reforms to promote affordable housing (pg.50)

Institutional reforms to ensure that citizen-government interaction is significantly improved (pg.54)

Liberalisation and reforms coupled with social welfare policies like the Mahatma Gandhi National  Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the National Food Security Act.  (pg.3)
Judicial Reforms We will completely overhaul the commercial and civil justice systems, on the lines of criminal justice reforms. This revamp will aim to streamline procedures, enhance the efficiency of legal processes and ensure timely justice, fostering a more business-friendly and citizen-centric legal environment



Establishment of National Judicial Appointment Commission in consultation with the Judiciary to ensure its Independence. 


Judicial Complaints Commission

Sufficient infrastructure for Judiciary

More representation for women, SC/ST/OBC and minorities at higher Judiciary


Agriculture and Minimum wage We are providing annual financial assistance of Rs 6,000 under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. We are committed to sustained financial support for our farmers (pg.22)


Strengthening Natural Farming (pg.23)

Develop Digital Public Infrastructure to remove information asymmetry in agriculture and provide farmer-centric solutions and services.  (pg.24)

Doubling Custom Hiring Centres, expanding PM Kisan Samriddhi Kendras, ensuring high yielding seeds etc  (pg.24)

Congress will give a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) announced by the government every year, as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission (pg.17)


Double the funding of R & D in Agriculture in five years (p.g18).

Inland fishing and aquaculture will be recognised as ‘agriculture’. 


We will increase the wage under MGNREGA to Rs.400 per day. (pg.20)

The Congress guarantees a national minimum wage at Rs.400/- per day (pg.20)

Promote solar-powered engines for tapping groundwater for agriculture. (pg.33)

Higher Education We will elevate the quality of education by expanding top educational institutions and upgrading universities to global standards. We will introduce more IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and other such institutes. We will launch internship programmes to blend academic and practical skills  (pg.14) Our policies brought about rapid Industrialisation in a predominantly agrarian economy, transformed India from a famine-struck country to one that exports food grains to countries around the world, laid the scientific and technical foundations for India’s rise as a global software powerhouse, and built world class institutions in research and higher education whose graduates are seen as at par with the world’s best. (pg.3)
Job creation We have set the example for conducting recruitment exams in a transparent manner and recruited lakhs of youth for government jobs. We will continue to fill the government vacancies in a time bound and transparent manner. We will also extend the central government capacity to states that request support in conducting recruitment examinations



We will fill the nearly 30 lakh vacancies in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government. We will stipulate that vacancies in the panchayats and municipal bodies shall be filled according to a timetable agreed with state governments.  (pg.11)
Free ration We have provided free ration to 80+ crore citizens since 2020. We will continue to provide free ration for the next five years under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. (pg.11) The list of ration card holders will be updated in all States immediately and it will be ensured that all ration card holders, including migrant workers, get their rations regularly (pg.20)
Healthcare We have provided quality free health treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh to poor families under Ayushman Bharat. We will continue to provide free health treatment by strengthening Ayushman Bharat and other such initiatives. (pg.15)


Ensuring Women’s Health and Well-Being.

We will expand the existing health services focussed on the prevention and reduction of Anaemia, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer and Osteoporosis, ensuring a healthy life for women. We will launch a focussed initiative to eliminate cervical cancer  (pg.16)

We will expand the Ayushman Bharat Yojana to cover Senior Citizens and provide them access to free and quality healthcare. (pg.20)

The central government’s contribution to pensions for senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the National Social Assistance Programme remains a pitiful Rs 200 – Rs 500 per month. Congress will raise this amount to Rs 1,000 per month.



We promise that healthcare will be universal and free in public health centres such as hospitals, clinics, primary health centres, mobile healthcare units, dispensaries and health camps. Free healthcare will include examination, diagnostics, treatment, surgery, medicines, rehabilitation and palliative care. (pg.9)



EWS Reservation Instituted 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (pg.7) The reservation of 10 per cent in jobs and educational institutions for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) will be implemented for all castes and communities without discrimination. (pg.6)


To reduce dropout rates, we will ensure that pre-matric and higher education scholarships for disadvan taged groups including SC, ST, OBC, EWS, denotified tribes and minorities are restored, increased and fully funded.  (pg.13)

Women’s Reservation Empowered women by enacting the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam to provide reservation to women in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies  (pg.6) The Constitution (106th) Amendment Act marks the BJP’s great betrayal of women. The Amendment Act contains sinister provisions that will allow the reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies to come into operation only beyond 2029. Congress will delete the sinister provisions and bring the Amendment Act into force immediately. The one-third reservation for women will be applied to State Assemblies that will be elected in the next round of Assembly elections in 2025. 


The one-third reservation for women will also be applied to the Lok Sabha that will be elected in 2029.  (pg.16)

Scope and Ambit Of Reservation  No mention Congress will conduct a nation-wide Socio-Economic and Caste Census to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. Based on the data, we will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action. (pg.6)


The Congress guarantees that it will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SC, ST and OBC.  (pg.6)

We will enact a law with reference to Article 15(5) of the Constitution to provide for reservation in private educational institutions for SC, ST and OBC (pg.7)

UCC and Personal law Reforms BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time Bharat adopts a Uniform Civil Code,  which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draw a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times. (pg.54) Congress will ensure that, like every citizen, minorities have the freedom of choice of dress, food, language and personal laws. 


We will encourage reform of personal laws. Such reform must be undertaken with the participation and consent of the communities concerned.  (pg.8)

Religious Rights We have embraced our rich heritage and diverse culture. Bhavya Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has rejuvenated our society. Our cultural and religious sites are being restored across the country. Our young citizens are finding a new interest in our history and heritage (pg.3)


We will undertake significant new projects to develop religious and tourist sites inspired by the *Kashi Vishwanath corridor model*, across the length and breadth of our country.  (pg.52)

Our greatest concern was the prevailing ‘climate of fear, intimidation and hatred’. In the last five years, every section of the people has lived in fear; laws and investigating agencies have been weaponised to intimidate people; and through its words and actions the BJP and its affiliates have spread hatred among people belonging to different religious, language and caste groups.  (pg.4)


Linguistic and religious minorities are granted human and civic rights under the Constitution of India. Congress pledges to uphold and protect these rights. (pg.7)

We will respect and uphold the fundamental right to practice one’s faith and the rights guaranteed to religious minorities under Articles 15, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution. (pg.8)

Federalism We will take further steps to facilitate fiscal autonomy and sustainability of Panchayati Raj Institutions.  (pg.55) The federal structure is under attack with the central Government appropriating most of the central revenues, passing laws on subjects that were hitherto left to the state governments, and using its financial and executive powers to reduce states to municipalities. Governors of non-BJP-governed states are encouraged to paralyse the working of elected governments. Laws and investigating agencies are used to foist false cases against non-BJP leaders to force them to submit to the BJP’s will. The media has been rewarded or intimidated to become a vehicle of propaganda of the government (pg.5)


We will review the distribution of legislative fields in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and build a consensus on transferring some fields from List III (Concurrent List) to List II (State List). (pg.35)

J&K Revoked Article 370 leading to a significant reduction in violence in Jammu and Kashmir (pg.8) We will immediately restore full statehood to Jammu  and Kashmir. We will amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to include the tribal areas of Ladakh.  (pg.36)
Manipur No Mention The situation in Manipur has gone from bad to worse due to the callous neglect of the BJP/NDA government. Congress will remove the present state government forthwith and heal the wounds between the communities. We will appoint a Reconciliation Commission to bring about a political and administrative settlement that will be satisfactory to all the people of the state.


We will ensure appropriate compensation and redress for the victims and survivors of the conflict in Manipur. (pg.37)

NCT of Delhi No Mention We will amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and declare that the Lieutenant Governor shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of NCT, Delhi on all matters, including Services, except on matters concerning the three reserved subjects. (pg.36)

We have taken the historic step of enacting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and will implement it to confer citizenship to all eligible persons  (pg.39) No Mention
One Nation, One Election We have set up a High Powered Committee to examine the issues of conducting simultaneous elections and will work towards the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee  (pg.55) We reject the ‘one nation one election’ idea and we promise that elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will be held as and when they are due in accordance with the Constitution and the traditions of a Parliamentary democracy (pg.22)

Prashant Padmanabhan is an Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India.





YouTubeBox _A

NRI News:

Currency Rates

S5 Instagram Feed

YouTubeBox _K

World COVID-19


Who will win 2024 General Election in India?