Mull making manifestos legally binding: VP

New Delhi, April 5 : Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday appealed to the Government as well as the Opposition to ponder over the possibility of making election manifestos of political parties legally binding. The matter was raised by Rashtriya Janata Dal lawmaker Manoj Jha during Zero Hour who suggested the step, saying the relevance of the manifestos is diminishing and such a step would make political parties more accountable for their promises. The RJD MP also drew support from other Members in the House who promptly associated with the point he raised. “The relevance of the election manifesto is constantly fading. The dignity and importance of the election manifesto that used to exist in 1952, 1957 or 1962 no longer exists today. “The seriousness of political parties towards the manifesto is continuously declining. Earlier, political parties used to put forward doable things, and that used to form the central discourse in the country. “These days, the central discourse consists mostly of hatred, disaffection and indecent comments,” said Manoj Jha. Urging all political parties to get together on the issue, the RJD MP said that the parties should decide as to what should be the central discourse of the country. “We need to accommodate positive issues in the central discourse, and not the things that create walls of hatred,” he said. Chairman Naidu said the issue raised by Jha is important and asked the elders if it was possible to make election manifestos legally enforceable. He said, “Political parties should meet and think about the issue seriously, and then move forward in the larger interest of the country. It is a real issue. What has been raised is very important.” The opinion of political parties on the issue should remain the same irrespective of whether they are in power or in opposition, he added. “And when we are in Opposition, we say it should be enforceable, when our position changes (we are in government), our position (stand on the issue) becomes different. All parties should apply their mind and then come to some conclusion. That’s my appeal,” he said. ASU ING

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