Election Manifesto as defined by the Black's law dictionary is "A formal
written declaration, promulgated by a prince, or by the executive authority of a
state or nation, proclaiming its reasons and motives for declaring a war, or for
any other Important international action(1) . an essential tool for political
parties to communicate their vision, ideas, and proposed policies to the
electorate. Manifestos are documents that outline the agenda of a political
party, including its plans and policies for governance.
In India, election manifestos are critical documents that play a significant
role in shaping public opinion and influencing the outcome of elections.
Political parties make a range of promises and commitments in their manifestos,
and voters use these documents to evaluate and compare different political
However, election manifestos can also have a significant impact on the law and
order and constitutional framework of the country. This article will explore the
relationship between Indian election manifestos and their impact on law and
order , the constitution and the economy .
Indian Election Manifestos
Elections are an integral part of India's democratic process. Political parties
use these documents to outline their vision for the country and their proposed
policies. A manifesto usually contains a set of promises and commitments on
various issues such as governance, economy, foreign policy, social welfare,
national security, etc. The Electoral Commission of India (ECI) has provided
guidelines for political parties to follow when preparing their electoral
platforms. These guidelines emphasize the need to make realistic and workable
promises that political parties can carry out when they come to power(3).
To circumvent the obligations to implement them (the measures that political
parties put forward in their election manifestos to improve the state of the
nation and the various promises made to them in their respective election
manifestos), or explain their non-implementation A flimsy justification for
being voted out in the next/next election if the ruling party at election time
does not carry out the promises made in the election manifesto. But those who
make this seemingly rational argument seem fully aware and confident that voters
in countries like India can easily be fooled.
The advantage for the party and the disadvantage for the poor/voters is that
they are easily duped by the party due to ignorance, illiteracy and inability to
assess the party's performance during previous reigns in power. put away. Other
parties that never had the chance to take power are now in power, looking back
and saying that they cannot guarantee that the plans/programs contained in the
election manifesto will be implemented because they are not part of the
government political party(4) .
The Impact on Law and Order
Law and order is one of the key areas political parties typically cover in their
election manifestos. This is not surprising, as maintaining law and order is one
of the state's primary duties. Political parties use manifestos to outline plans
to improve law and order in the country, an issue that matters to most voters.
The impact of electoral programs on Indian law and order can be observed in many
ways. First, manifestos can influence the policies and strategies pursued by
political parties once they come to power. A manifesto usually contains a
detailed plan to improve law and order. This includes measures such as
strengthening police forces, creating special courts to speed up trials, and
increasing the use of technology to prevent and detect crime. When political
parties come to power, they are expected to implement these policies, which can
have significant legal and regulatory implications.
Political parties often make promises related to the justice system, including
changes to the criminal justice system, police reforms, and measures to improve
public safety. For example, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) promised to implement a range of measures to improve law and
order, including the creation of a national police university, the establishment
of fast-track courts to handle cases of crimes against women and children, and
the introduction of stricter punishments for crimes such as rape(5) .
Second, manifestos can also influence public perceptions and expectations of law
and order. Political parties use election manifestos to highlight the country's
legal and regulatory challenges and their plans to address them. These
manifestos have been widely distributed through various media channels and
widely discussed in election campaigns.
As a result, they can shape public opinion and influence what voters expect from
the ruling party. The Indian National Congress (INC) promised to create a new
ministry of justice and establish a judicial commission to appoint judges(6).
The party also pledged to increase the number of police personnel and improve
their training, as well as to create a national crime database to help law
enforcement agencies better track and solve crimes.
However, there are concerns about the feasibility and implementation of some of
these promises. For example, the creation of a national police university would
require significant resources and infrastructure, and it is unclear whether the
government has the capacity to implement such a measure. Similarly, the
establishment of fast-track courts and stricter punishments for crimes may
require changes to the existing legal framework, which can be a time-consuming
and complex process.
Third, the manifesto can also influence the party's legislative agenda.
Political parties use manifestos to set legislative priorities and propose
changes to existing laws or new laws to address specific issues. This may have a
direct impact on the legal framework of the country, which in turn may affect
the legal and regulatory framework of the country.
Note, however, that manifesto law and order implications are not always
straightforward. Manifests often contain promises and suggestions that are
difficult or impossible to carry out in practice. For example, a political party
may promise to eradicate crime completely or create a society free of
corruption, but in practice it may not be feasible. The manifesto's impact on
law and order therefore hinges on the ability of political parties to deliver on
Moreover, the effectiveness of electoral programs in shaping policy and practice
also depends on the broader policy context in which they are developed and
implemented. Political parties may face significant challenges in implementing
policies such as: Resistance of other political parties, bureaucratic obstacles,
or financial bottlenecks. These challenges can limit the manifesto's impact on
law and order, even when political parties have the political will to deliver on
The Impact on the Constitution
The Constitution of India is the basic law of the country and sets out the
framework of the government, the basic rights of citizens and the obligations of
the government. It is the supreme law that governs the country and guides all
other laws of the country. The constitutional impact of an election manifesto
can be significant, as political parties often make promises to influence the
fundamental principles of the constitution. This article discusses the impact of
electoral programs on the Constitution(7) .
The Constitution of India is based on the principles of democracy, equality,
liberty and secularism. The Constitution provides for a parliamentary government
with separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The Constitution also
provides for fundamental rights such as rights to equality, rights to liberty,
rights against exploitation, rights to religious freedom, cultural and
educational rights, and rights to constitutional appeal. The Constitution also
establishes principles that guide state policy, guidelines for the government to
achieve social, economic, and political justice for all citizens(8).
An election manifesto is a document issued by a political party before an
election that sets out its promises and plans should it come to power. These
manifestos often contain promises that may have constitutional implications. For
example, in the 2019 parliamentary elections, the BJP pledged to repeal Article
370 of the constitution, which gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status. That
promise came true in August 2019, when the government lifted Jammu and Kashmir's
special status and divided the state into her two federal territories(9) .
Similarly, in the 2019 elections, lawmakers pledged to repeal the controversial
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the party said was discriminatory against
Muslims. The CAA is seeking to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who
arrived in India before December 2014 from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The law has been widely criticized for discriminating against Muslims and
violating the constitution's secular principles. considered.
Election programs can also influence the Constitution by influencing the
appointment of judges in the Higher Judiciary. The government is responsible for
appointing the Supreme Court and Supreme Court judges. In recent years, there
have been allegations that political parties have sought to influence the
appointment of judges according to their political agenda, which could have
significant implications for the independence of the judiciary, a fundamental
principle of the constitution. In addition, electoral programs can affect
government functioning and law enforcement. Political parties often promise to
enact new laws or amend existing laws when they come to power.
The implementation of these laws can affect the functions of government and the
rights of citizens. For example, in the 2014 House of Commons elections, the BJP
pledged to introduce fair compensation and transparency rights in the Land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act to replace the Land Acquisition
Act of 1894. The new law has been criticized for being good for business and
undermining the rights of farmers and other land owners.
The Impact on Economy
Election programs are not only a collection of political pledges by political
parties, but also have a significant impact on a country's economy. In India,
election manifestos play an important role in shaping the country's economic
policy, as political parties often use them as a platform to outline their
future economic vision(10) . The promises made in these manifestos can have both
positive and negative economic impacts, depending on the feasibility of the
proposals and the party's ability to implement them if elected.
One of the ways election programs affect the economy is through their impact on
investor sentiment. If the party's program includes policies deemed
investor-friendly, it can increase confidence in the economy and attract more
domestic and foreign investment. For example, in the 2014 House of
Representatives election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) included in its
manifesto several business-friendly proposals such as tax simplification,
liberalization of foreign investment, and infrastructure improvements. These
promises were seen as a positive move to improve business in India and helped
boost investor confidence.
On the other hand, if a political party's program includes policies considered
anti-corporate, this can negatively affect investor sentiment and discourage
investment. For example, in the upcoming election , a Party "M" proposed the
introduction of a minimum income guarantee. The proposal could hurt the economy,
raising concerns about its potential impact on the country's budget deficit and
Election affairs can also affect the economy through their impact on public
spending. Political parties often promise to increase spending in various
sectors such as education, health care and infrastructure to attract voters(11)
. While these promises may be popular with voters, they can have a significant
impact on the country's budget deficit and debt, which could affect the economy.
It can lead to voter disappointment and loss of trust in government.
The Case of Subramaniam Balaji (12)
The issue of freebies went to the Supreme Court, and in announcing the manifesto
for the 2006 general election, Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (DMK) advocated free
color TV for every household if a political party/alliance came to power.
announced plans to distribute The Applicant has made a written application to
the Madras High Court on the grounds that the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by
the State Government for its implementation are unauthorized, unacceptable and
transcendent of its constitutional obligations. was The High Court dismissed the
claim and the matter was brought before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court's Chamber ruled that the manifesto's promises could not be
read under Section 123 of the People's Representation Act of 1951.Corruption
declared an act. However, we cannot rule out the reality that the distribution
of freebies of all kinds will undoubtedly affect everyone and greatly undermine
free and fair elections.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the legislative branch has limited powers to
mandate legislation in specific regions. The Supreme Court also ruled that the
state's distribution of leniency in the form of color televisions, laptop
computers, etc. to qualified individuals is directly related to the guiding
principles of state policy. Therefore, it cannot be said that the transfer of
such goods is not expenditure for public purposes.
In the absence of statutes directly regulating the content of election
manifestos, the court directed the Election Commission to develop guidelines for
election manifestos issued by political parties. These can be included in the
code of conduct model. The court also ruled that Congress must enact another
law. In fact, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against the decision of the
Madras High Court, even though instructions were given.
Furthermore, election manifestos can also impact the economy by influencing the
priorities of the government. If a party wins the election and implements the
promises made in its manifesto, it can have a significant impact on the
country's economic policies. For example, the BJP government's implementation of
the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 was a major economic reform that was
promised in its 2014 election manifesto. The GST has had a significant impact on
the economy, both positive and negative, and has changed the way businesses
operate in the country.
The Role of the Election Commission of India on Handling Elections and
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is an independent constitutional body
responsible for overseeing the entire electoral process in India, from the
conduct of free and fair elections to the monitoring of political parties and
their activities. It has a vital role in ensuring that the electoral process in
India remains transparent, efficient, and accountable. One of the most critical
responsibilities of the ECI is to regulate the election manifestos of political
The ECI has released several guidelines for political parties regarding the
contents of their election manifestos. These guidelines aim to ensure that the
election manifestos of political parties do not contain any content that may
promote enmity or hatred between different communities, religions, castes, or
regions. In 2013, the ECI issued a notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
for violating these guidelines in its election manifesto for the assembly
elections in Delhi. The ECI held that the BJP had included certain
discriminatory and derogatory statements in its manifesto, which violated the
model code of conduct and the guidelines issued by the ECI.
In addition to regulating the contents of election manifestos, the ECI also
monitors the expenses incurred by political parties during election campaigns.
Political parties are required to submit their election expenses to the ECI
within a specific time frame, and the ECI can take appropriate action against
any party that exceeds the expenditure limit or fails to submit the expenditure
details on time. This helps to prevent the misuse of money in elections and
promotes transparency and accountability.
The ECI also plays a crucial role in handling complaints related to violations
of the model code of conduct by political parties during election campaigns. The
model code of conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the ECI to regulate the
conduct of political parties during elections. It aims to ensure that political
parties do not engage in any activity that may interfere with the conduct of
free and fair elections. The ECI has the power to take action against any
political party that violates the model code of conduct. Such actions may
include reprimanding the party, filing a criminal case, or disqualifying the
In recent years, the ECI has taken several steps to improve the regulation of
election manifestos and the conduct of political parties during elections. For
example, it has introduced a system of pre-certification of political
advertisements on television and radio to prevent the spread of hate speech and
misinformation during election campaigns. The ECI has also made it mandatory for
political parties to provide details of their criminal cases against them, if
any, in their election affidavits(15) .
Election manifestos are an important tool for political parties to communicate
their vision and policies to the electorate. But sometimes you might get
instances when leaders don't give a damn about their manifesto as said by a
forman politician from Haryana 'I can't tell you how many elections I have
fought but I can assure you I have never read a single manifesto!'(16)
They can shape policy, influence public perceptions and expectations, and
influence legislative priorities. However, its actual effectiveness will depend
on many factors, including the feasibility of the proposal, the wider political
context, and the political will of the parties in power. Despite these
challenges, the manifesto remains an important vehicle for political parties to
articulate their vision and plans for the country and will continue to play a
key role in shaping Indian politics for the foreseeable future. prize.
Political parties often make promises to influence fundamental constitutional
principles such as secularism, democracy and equality. Fulfilling these promises
can affect the functioning of governments and the rights of citizens. It is
imperative that political parties commit to upholding constitutional principles
and striving towards the achievement of social, economic and political justice
for all citizens.
They can influence investor sentiment, public spending, and the priorities of
the government, and can lead to both positive and negative outcomes. While
political parties often use manifestos as a tool to attract voters, it is
important to ensure that the promises made are feasible and can be implemented
effectively. Moreover, it is equally important for the government to keep the
promises made in the manifesto and work towards achieving the goals outlined, in
order to maintain the trust of the voters and ensure sustainable economic
The Election Commission also plays a crucial role in ensuring that election
manifestos do not contain any material that may harm the democratic fabric of
the country. However, the role of the Election Commission in monitoring election
manifestos has been a subject of debate. Some argue that the Commission's power
to disqualify candidates or deregister parties based on the content of their
manifestos may infringe on their right to freedom of speech and expression.
Others argue that the Commission's powers are necessary to ensure that election
manifestos do not contain any material that may harm the democratic fabric of
In conclusion, election manifestos play a crucial role in Indian politics, as
they provide a roadmap for political parties to articulate their vision and
agenda to the voters. However, the impact of election manifestos on law and
order, the Constitution, and the economy depends on the political will of the
ruling party to implement its promises.
- The Law Dictionary, s.v. "Manifesto," accessed March 30, 2023,
- Rehman Sobhan, Election Manifestos, 2004, PL WebJour 13 (2004).
- Nita Mookherjee & Devesh Kapur, Costs of Democracy: Political Finance in
India (Oxford University Press, 2008).
- Chandra, Kanchan. "The BJP's election manifesto and the challenge of
governing India." Journal of Democracy 30, no. 4 (2019): 125-138.
- Singh, Gyaneshwar. "Electoral promises in India: An analysis of the
manifestos of political parties in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections."
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research 2, no. 1
- Chawla, Pranav. "The Impact of Manifestos on Indian Democracy." Indian
Journal of Law and Public Policy 6, no. 1 (2020): 22-31.
- Kapur, Devesh. "The Constitution and India's Elections: A View from the
Ground." In The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution, edited by Sujit
Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, 914-930. Oxford University
Press, 2016. (pp. 914-915)
- Thiruvengadam, Arun K. "The Promise and Peril of the Indian Election
Manifesto." Economic and Political Weekly 54, no. 19 (2019): 14-17. (p. 14).
- Ghatak, Subrata, and Stephen Wilkinson. "The Economic Impact of Election
Manifestos: Bang for the Buck?" Journal of Public Economics 95, no. 11-12
- Ahluwalia, Isher Judge, and I. M. D. Little. "The Impact of Economic
Manifestos on the Indian Economy." In Economic Reforms in India, edited by
V. V. Bhatt and D. R. Bhatt, 225-237. New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications,
- (2013) 9 SCC 659
- Election Commission of India. Election Commission of India, accessed
March 28, 2023, https://eci.gov.in/.
- Chawla, S. K. "The Role of the Election Commission of India in
Conducting Free and Fair Elections." Journal of Politics & Governance, vol.
6, no. 1, Mar. 2017, pp. 1-8.
- Goswami, Naveen. "Regulation of Election Manifestos in India: A Critical
Analysis." International Journal of Innovative Research & Development, vol.
6, no. 7, July 2017, pp. 29-34.
- Kanchan Chandra, The Great March of Democracy: Seven Decades of India's
Elections (Viking, 2019).
Please Drop Your Comments