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Elders in RS urge govt to make election manifesto legally enforceable

The elders in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday urged the Centre to make the election manifesto legally enforceable after due consultations with all political parties.

Raising this issue during Zero Hour, the RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha said that the relevance of the election manifesto has been diminishing and now the political parties are releasing it just a day ahead of the polling.

Urging all political parties and the government, he said that a wider consultation was needed to make it legally enforceable, " If I recollect the election manifestos of 1952, 1957 and 1962, all political parties, including the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the Socialist party and the Congress Party used to enlist doable things in their election documents and a serious discussion used to be held in the central leadership before releasing it to the public," Jha said.

"Now, in the election manifesto, the hatred, grudge and divisive thoughts and disrespectful comments are taking a centre stage in these declarations," Jha further said.

The RJD lawmaker referred to a petition filed in the Supreme Court in 2015 wherein the then Justice Dattu and Justice Amitabh Bench had noted that since these manifestos are not legally enforceable, the Apex Court Bench cannot entertain the petition. Jha further said that in 2013 Justice Ranjan Gogogi and Justice Sathasivam Bench had observed that if the dignity and the respect of the Indian democracy has to be kept intact, then these declarations have to be given a legal shape and the political parties should be made accountable.

Jha also said in these declarations the political parties instead of hypothetical things need to talk about the ground issues and reality which affects the common man.

"We need to have wider consultations on developing a policy so that the ground realities and issues related to the core issues of the public take centre stage in the political discussion," Jha added.

Other members of the House, including Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi, associated with the issue.

Chairman of the House Venkaiah Naidu said, "Political parties should meet to think about this issue seriously. And then move forward in the larger interest of the country. It is a real issue. What has been raised is a very important issue. And when we are in Opposition, we say it should be enforceable. When we are in positions, our position is different. All parties should apply their mind and then come to some conclusion. That's my appeal."

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