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Sunday, January 24, 2021
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Indian PM Modi releases party’s election manifesto

Addressing an audience in New Delhi, Modi said: “We have set 75 definitive time-bound and well-defined goals, probably in a first for any manifesto. And when we came with this manifesto, it was clear in our mind that (we will move ahead with) one mission, one direction.”

Modi’s BJP is widely expected to retain power after a general election that starts on Thursday (April 11), though with a much smaller mandate, hit by concerns over a shortage of jobs and weak farm prices.

BJP pledged to spend 100 trillion rupees ($1.44 trillion) on infrastructure in the next five years, to help create jobs for the millions entering the workforce each year.

About 900 million people are eligible to vote in the election starting on Thursday, in which Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led group is taking on the Congress and its allies and a clutch of regional parties.

The election had become tighter because of discontent in the countryside over a weak rural economy and lack of jobs for young people. But over the last month, support for Modi’s Hindu nationalist party has grown following a spike in tension with Pakistan, the polls say.

The BJP and its allies are expected to win 267 of the 543 parliament seats at stake, the CVoter polling agency said, just five short of the halfway mark required to rule.

(Production: Ella Wilks-Harper)

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