In my last article, I have shown how Congress has vowed to ruin our future by creating long-standing gender hatred in the society. In fact, their manifesto is another display of their audacity to boast about most damaging provisions anyone has ever created in the history of independent India. BJP, however, is able to bring in much-needed relief to Indian people and especially men by presenting a seemingly gender-neutral election manifesto.
Let’s see BJP election manifesto in detail to understand how they are successful in doing that.
In their pledge BJP talks about participatory democracy, empowered and inspired people, inclusive development, productive youth and involved women etc. All of these are bold statements of creating a strong and unbiased future that is the need of the hour unlike Congress who has always boasted their gynocentric policies and failed to answer to the questions why women in India was never empowered in their regime and why only men in the country felt ostracized.
In this article I will restrict my focus to the women related issues and how BJP wants to ensure Empowered and Inspired people and Involved Women –
- Empowered and Inspired People
This phrase of empowering people and not based on any caste, creed, religion or gender shows us how a political party can bring transparency in the thought process and talk about overall empowerment rather than any reservation based politics. Even though Congress so far portrayed BJP as a non-secular party but the use of keywords in their election manifesto and portraying their thoughts in an unbiased way shows the vision BJP leadership has.
In fact, Congress needs to learn a lot from this manifesto. Especially how to draft some promises that will make people feel happy and show vision for a country and NOT for a section of people.
2. Involved Women
Even though in the start of the manifesto the mention of “Crime Against Women” being the prime focus area for BJP, in most part of this manifesto they have mentioned about both men and women while discussing other issues and hence tries to balance out its view without gender-specific bias. However, there are some policies that are discussed in relationship with only women and let’s look at them –
- Under judicial reforms they mentioned about increasing the number of women in the Bar association as well as in the bench to reduce gender gap in judiciary – Well this can mean anything to the extent of giving grace marks to women to pass the exam or even giving preferential treatment to women for being inducted into judiciary in the name of improving the gender gap. Since this is not merit based this can’t be supported as an MRA. Already gynocentric judgments by different male judges are killing men in the society. We don’t know what more women may bring. But purely from the essence of the overall manifesto and the way different issues are dealt with, this provision does not seem to be as drastic as giving women unfair promotion or marks to make them enter Judiciary.
Under “Women the Nation Builder” section BJP has elaborated several policies that it would bring in for ‘Women Empowerment and Welfare’. In this case, the manifesto states – “BJP recognizes the need for women’s security as a precondition to women’s empowerment” makes one feel that at least BJP has not mixed two concepts of women safety and women empowerment and thus did not propose a myopic view about the whole empowerment issue.
In terms of women welfare, BJP manifesto states that –
- BJP will introduce 33% reservation in parliamentary and state assemblies. Not to forget that women can still get seats under the non reserved category. But still even as an MRA I have no issue in this if we get capable national leaders especially when 80% male leaders who ruled our country for so many years has brought all anti-male laws. Also since women constitute around 49% voters in the country this seems to be a legitimate claim.
- Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao – Even though the manifesto does not clearly state how this will be done but saving girls does not necessarily mean, it is anti-men or boys. This talks about only a national campaign of awareness creation to save the girl child. Hence there is not much to debate about. The only point is under the zeal of saving women, or educating girl children BJP should not omit the need of boys as recent UNESCO study shows literacy rate among girls is already increasing at a higher rate compared to that of boys.
- Create a positive attitude towards girl child also does not mean encouraging negative attitude towards boys and thus is welcome.
- Women healthcare focus on nutrition and pregnancy. Good in terms of our future generation too.
- Setting up women-centric ITIs and upskilling women – very good initiative for bringing women into the workforce. Unlike Congress policy of giving grace marks to women candidates in IIMs that benefit only the elite and deprive deserving male candidates, this initiative will create a skilled workforce ready to take on jobs and be employable But this initiative also needs to be coupled with bringing in more responsibility for women to their families.
- Strict implementation of laws related to crime against women, particularly those related to rape – well, the recently manufactured rape law by the Congress has enough scope of misuse and need immediate amendment. Present overwhelming misuse of rape law demands immediate attention to the introduction of severe misuse clause that will act as a deterrent to a woman filing such false cases. Strict implementation is fine, but BJP never said that they will check the misuse of the law which is saddening.
- Acid Attack Victims’ welfare fund – well it is welcome as long as it caters to both sexes and not only women. This clause, however, does not say ‘Women acid attack victim’s welfare fund’ as Congress would have done and thus is a relief.
- Introduce self-defense in school – great initiative, more effective in empowering women and making them feel safe rather than bringing in thousand of anti-male gender biased laws to enhance legal terrorism. I have raised this point after the Delhi rape when the nation was crazy about bringing in stricter rape laws. Everyone ignored this solution to create a sense of security among women.
- BJP manifesto does talk a lot about having women-specific business cells and creating job opportunities for them. But the important point is it does not talk about reservation of jobs by depriving men, it talks about upskilling women and then giving them work. A much-needed focus to have a better workforce. Hope this will ensure women take up more responsibility in families too, especially in terms of their financial contribution to their families.
- Loans at a low-interest rate to women self-help groups. Well, considering the low participation of women in the workforce and the need of creating the women workforce this step is welcome but until the time we have the equal participation of women in the workforce.
- The manifesto does talk about checking female foeticide, dowry, child marriage etc. but it does not specify bringing new gender biased laws like Congress. Well, we first need to see how they arrive at right crime rate under each of the crimes described here and then we will see the measures they bring in. However, saddening part is BJP never spoke about checking any law misuse anywhere.
- In the end, the manifesto talks about improving the quality of life of rural women by providing electricity, tapped water, cleaner fuel, and toilets. Well, all these will definitely improve quality of life for any family and thus are good measures to take to improve the quality of life.
Thus BJP manifesto could talk about some sensible way without creating much gender hatred. But as a man who has suffered enough misandry in his life, I am not happy to see none of the men’s issues being featured here. While I have no problem in empowering women in a sensible way but I do see no hope for men or boys in this manifesto. While BJP attempts to create more jobs for women and make them more employable, will they also increase women’s responsibility in their own families? Will BJP make a contribution to the family mandatory for women? Will it relive men from taking all responsibility for the family solely? Even though the manifesto tries to attempt the gender issue in a seemingly neutral way, but what is painful is no focus on issues facing men/boys.
Answer to all the questions asked in last paragraph – ‘NO!’.