Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh with Arjun Munda at Ranchi on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, Nov. 19: After a short-lived honeymoon with prospective investors while in power in Jharkhand in 2002-2006, its now back to basics for BJP which has promised the moon to the poor if voted to power in the state.
Fighting corruption may be top priority, but the fine print of the 44-page manifesto that was released today was indicative of the partys desperate attempt to reconnect with the common man.
No, it hasnt borrowed the Congresss aam admi slogan, but the BJP manifesto talks of rice/wheat at Re 1 per kg, loans to farmers for agricultural work at two per cent interest, early panchayat elections — pending in Jharkhand since the past three decades _ and a greater thrust on cottage industries.
Its slogan: Sunn bhai sunn, ek rupya mein chaur (rice), ek rupya me genhu (wheat), char ana mein nunn (salt), BJP ko chhun.
Released by state party president Raghubar Das in the presence of Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh at an hour-long function at the party headquarters in the state capital, it was a defining moment for Congresss principal rival thats looking to replicate its Lok Sabha poll show when it won eight of 14 seats in Jharkhand.
Every BPL family would be given 35 kg of rice/wheat at Re 1 per kg. Moreover, we promise to provide iodised salt at 25 paise per kg, Das said, while reading out salient features of the manifesto, the release of which was also attended by a host of senior BJP leaders, including MPs Yashwant Sinha, P.N Singh and Arjun Munda.
To fulfil its promise of a corruption free Jharkhand, the manifesto promised several measures, such as setting up a vigilance cell at each administrative level and a change in clauses of the executive rules of business to ensure transparency, sensitiveness and accountability to people.
But issues of extremism and its effects on industry _ read MoUs — are mentioned in passing. Solving the Naxalite problem finds two lines in page 28 and suggests a way out in the form of administrative and social solutions.
The manifesto also fails to provide a roadmap for the 50-odd MoUs signed with investors in steel and power sectors, most of them during the tenure of BJP chief minister Arjun Munda.
But it talks of setting up a ministry of micro, small and medium industry, besides focussing on promotion of traditional rural artefacts.
This apart, the BJP also pledges emphasis on Santhal Pargana, a high court bench in Dumka, a hospital like AIIMS; development of Deoghar as a tourist hub and heritage city, construction of a much-awaited bridge over Ganga in Sahebganj and a road connecting Govindpur (near Dhanbad) with Sahebganj.