Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 09:28 UK

BJP sets out India poll manifesto

LK Advani
Mr Advani is the BJP's candidate for prime minister

India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has released its election manifesto which includes a number of key financial pledges.

It says it will retrieve Indian money illegally gained and stashed abroad and will also raise the income tax limit.

The BJP said it would also build a million houses for the poor every year and reduce interest rates to make urban housing affordable.

The BJP's main rival is the governing Congress party.

Good governance, economic development and security for all
LK Advani

It released its manifesto last week, appealing for a return to power so it can continue to push economic growth.

The general election will be held in five phases. Polling to elect the new Lok Sabha (lower house) begins on 16 April and runs to 13 May. Counting is due on 16 May.

Nearly four million officials will conduct the elections and 714 million voters are eligible to cast ballots.

'Three promises'

"You will see that this is not a routine programme. We are promising only what we can deliver," the BJP's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani said at the release of the manifesto.

"We are promising three things - good governance, economic development and security for all," he said.

Congress Party supporter at a party rally
More than 700 million can vote in the world's most populous democracy

Highlighting the main points of the manifesto, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said that all families living below the poverty line would be given 35kg of rice at two rupees a kg every month.

If elected to power, the party said those earning 300,000 rupees a year ($6,000 approximately) would not have to pay any income taxes.

For women and the elderly (those above 60 years), the limit would be 350,000 rupees ($7,000).

The manifesto says the BJP will identify and retrieve billions of dollars of illegally gained Indian money stashed abroad.

The manifesto promises better road connectivity for villages and the creation of jobs in rural areas.

The party also promises a tougher anti-terror law. India has seen several militant attacks across the country in recent years.

The manifesto says the BJP will secure the 4,000km-long coast line of India. The perpetrators of last November's deadly Mumbai (Bombay) attacks are believed to have come via the sea route.

The party, which has often accused Congress of running a soft government, said it would deal strongly with Maoist rebels who were fighting for a communist state in parts of India.

The BJP said it was also committed to building a temple to Hindu god Ram in the northern town of Ayodhya.

In 1992, Hindu hardliners demolished the Babri mosque saying it was built on a temple.

The demolition of the mosque sparked Hindu-Muslim riots in which more than 2,000 people were killed across India.

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