Patna, April 5: The JD(U) went back to its “socialist mode” with its election manifesto, which makes promises one would associate with the RJD.
While the RJD is yet to release its manifesto, the JD(U) has sought to appease all sections — particularly minorities, backward castes and scheduled castes and tribes. The ruling party promised “zero tolerance” for communal violence while expressing concern at “the new and frightening attempts to legitimise the communal policies of the BJP”. The RJD, too, talks of crushing communal forces.
The JD(U) manifesto promised a commission for upper castes who are educationally and economically backward. The RJD has for ages talked of 5 per cent quota for “poor upper castes”. The JD(U) talks of quota in private jobs — what the RJD has raised regularly.
Sharad Yadav said: “There is a rush by bigger parties to spread lies. The BJP is projecting as if one person has a solution to all problems. He is no Dr Lohia or Dr Ambedkar. They (the BJP) even said I would not contest from Madhepura.”
Both Yadav and chief minister Nitish Kumar referred to the “mahashay (gentleman) from Gujarat (Narendra Modi)” in their speeches. Pointing at BJP’s campaign spend, Nitish said it appeared corporate houses had made an investment, not donation. On Shahi Imam’s appeal to Muslims to vote for the Congress and the RJD, he said: “What was the Congress doing with the Sachar committee and Ranganath Mishra commission reports all these years?”
The manifesto talked of Nitish’s “good governance”. If it has a say in the next Union government, the party promised to replicate its achievements in Bihar — like 50 per cent quota for women in panchayat and civic bodies and special courts for speedy trial of corrupt public servants and seizure of their ill-gotten wealth.
The JD(U)’s thrust was on slashing centrally run schemes and letting the state decide and fund programmes.
“States have to foot a large portion of the bill for schemes the Centre makes. But not all schemes are beneficial,” Nitish said, also seeking devolution of funds between Centre and states on a 50:50 basis instead of 32 per cent for state and rest Centre. He promised to keep Bihar’s growth rate in double digits.
The party stressed on quota in private sector jobs. “Corporate India can be a partner,” Nitish said. The party talked of a commission for upper castes who are poor and educationally backward, at the Centre, like one Bihar created in 2011.
The party pledged special status to Bihar and other economically backward states and to work for a new central law called “Migrant Labourer Protection Act”, making it mandatory for states to guarantee security of life to migrant labourers.
It referred to problems Bihari labourers face in Maharashtra and Assam. It promised a “second green revolution” by replicating its “agriculture roadmap” at the Centre.