Almost a year to go for Assembly elections and several months before the Lok Sabha elections, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has already entered into an election mode.
In two speeches in two consecutive days, Soren has given a call to oust BJP from the Centre and the state.
Soren is a member of the coordination committee of the newly formed INDIA bloc.
On Friday, he launched a scathing attack on the BJP at the start of the third phase of Aapki Yojana, Aapki Sarkar, Aapke Dwar (linking beneficiaries with welfare schemes and addressing grievances at their doorsteps) at Barhait in Sahibganj district, and on Saturday while monitoring the same programme in Pakur district, he gave a call for Adivasis, Dalits, minorities and backwards to get united and select a “good government”.
“These people flout safety norms and our tribal, Dalit and backward brothers have to face the consequences. Around 15 workers are stranded in the tunnel which collapsed in Uttarakhand. Several tribals, Dalits and backwards workers have lost their lives in Uttarakhand during earlier mishaps. Be it demonetisation or inflation, the worst sufferers are the tribals, Dalits and the marginalised. It is time for tribals, Dalits, backwards and minorities to be united and select a good government at the Centre in 2024,” said Soren.
Enumerating facts, Soren said: “There are 131 seats reserved for Dalits (Scheduled Caste) and tribals (STs) — 84 for SCs and 47 for STs — in the Lok Sabha. If Dalits, tribals, minorities and backwards are united, nobody can stop from forming a government which gives priorities to our demands,” said Soren.
Further criticising the BJP for their double standards on tribal issues, Soren said: “When the election comes, they remember about tribal heroes and come for garlanding their statues. However, they keep their mouth locked over torture and atrocities meted out to tribals in Manipur. In fact, BJP leaders have decided to use the strongest lock of Godrej or Link in their mouth on the issue so far. They do not even consider our demands for a separate religious code for tribals.”
He also questioned the BJP manifesto during the Rajasthan Assembly election of giving LPG cylinders at Rs 450.
“They have announced plans to provide LPG at Rs 450 in Rajasthan. However, it is the BJP government at the Centre too, why will other states’ people pay Rs 1,200 for LPG cylinders? Is it another jumla (empty promise — a word used by the Opposition parties to target the Narendra Modi government),” said Soren.
He continued to take a dig at the central government’s failure by accusing them of mismanagement during the Covid pandemic.
“We saw how an ill-planned lockdown led to devastating effects on the poor and migrants. We saw women delivering children on the roads. They brought demonetisation and also brought Rs 2,000 currency notes. Has corruption ended? If yes, then why have they decided to take out Rs 2,000 banknotes from circulation? The whole economy is in a mess and inflation is at sky-high while the Centre is busy appeasing their select group of corporate friends,” alleged Soren.
He further alleged the Centre of step-motherly treatment towards non-BJP ruled states like Jharkhand and said that their request for food grains from Food Corporation of India (FCI) to distribute ration among eligible beneficiaries were not accepted.
“We were forced to purchase food grains from the open market at higher rates to provide ration to beneficiaries under the state food security scheme,” he said.
Soren, who had on several occasions in the past accused the Centre of misusing federal agencies such as Enforcement Directorate (ED), CBI andIT, said: “I challenge the ED to get me arrested, tie me byrope and punish me if I am guilty. People will answer at the right moment during the election.”