Dehradun: It was once the battle cry of the regional parties in Uttarakhand but the slogan Jal, Jungle, Jameen (the demand for the community based management of water, forest and land) has now been adopted by the Aam Admi Party (AAP). The catchphrase will now be the fledgling outfit’s “main” poll-plank in the Lok Sabha election.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Tehri candidate tries his hand at selling vegetables as part of his election campaign in the constituency. (HT File)
“We chose the slogan as our main poll-plank primarily to rid the state of a corrupt system. But there were also several associated key reasons why our choice fell on that catchphrase,” said Rajiv Lochan Shah, a member of the AAP’s state election campaign committee.
“For one, our party is committed to bringing water, forest and land under the legal control of the communities because those three natural resources are the driving forces of the state’s essentially agro-pastoral economy,” Shah said.
“Besides, such a system will also help us break that rather decades-old stranglehold of the politician-bureaucrat-contractor mafia over the key natural resources,” he said.
"If that monopoly is broken, I am sure, our party’s half the battle against corruption will be won,” said another AAP leader Dr Shamsher Singh Bisht. Elaborating, he clarified that when the AAP “talks in terms of breaking that monopoly, it doesn’t merely attack the politician-bureaucrat-contractor mafia indulging in the unbridled exploitation of natural resources at the cost of the communities’ interests.”
“Our party also talks of replacing the twin centrist parties - the Congress and the Bharitya Janata Party (BJP) that have been alternately ruling the state since it came into being about 14 years ago,” Bisht said. According to him, the AAP wants the twin parties to be replaced because they not only act in tandem with the politician-bureaucrat-contractor mafia nexus but also share a kind of symbiotic relationship with them.
“That’s evident from the way the twin parties (Congress and BJP) successively ruling the state have allowed the unchecked exploitation of Jal, Jungle, Jameen to serve the interests of big time traders, businessmen, forest and mining mafias”, Bisht said. Giving an example, he said that a number of mega and medium hydropower projects had been set up on the snow-fed rivers originating from Uttarakhand despite their disastrous environmental and ecological consequences.
Besides, there had been no system in place to divert the heaps of debris generated during the construction of such (mega and medium) hydropower projects.