Will roll back tweaks in land, conversion laws: RJD manifesto
Rashtriya Janata Dal, which has been allotted the Palamu Lok Sabha seat and has also fielded a candidate from the Chatra seat, on Thursday released its Jharkhand-specific poll manifesto, assuring people that the party would work to abolish the amendments made to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and the tweaks in religious conversion laws, if the opposition Grand Alliance was voted to power.
All projects for which land was acquired without the approval of gram sabhas would be cancelled, besides abolition of the present system of creating land banks, said the manifesto. RJD also mentioned that it would demand special status for the Palamu region and Chatra district in view of the backwardness of these places.
The manifesto promised that it would put the spotlight on the drinking water problems of Jharkhand; enforce a complete liquor ban; increase ease of doing business without any negative consequences for the business class; ensure reservation for backward classes in proportion to their population; implement the Sarna Code for the tribes; increase minimum working days of MNREGA to 150 from the current 100 days; and a review of the local residential policy prepared by the BJP government.
Issuing the region-specific election manifesto, state RJD president Gautam Sagar Rana said that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government had failed the tribals. Natural resources (“jal, jangal, jameen”) and the animal kingdom were passing through a grave crisis, said Rana, adding that RJD would help solve the issues.
The manifesto upheld the autonomy of minority institutions and said that it would address the problems concerning the minority communities. This includes implementation of the Ranganath Mishra committee and Sachhar Committee reports.
Rana said that the BJP-led government was harassing people in the name of forceful religious conversion, amendments to land laws, and through its Gau Raksha Vahini vigilantes. The manifesto underlined that RJD would help relax the ban on animal trading in Jharkhand and set up dairies.
Other focus areas mentioned in the manifesto were improving education standards with stress on regional languages; women’s safety; initiating actions against officials responsible for starvation deaths; solving cases related to mob-lynching through fast-track courts; and solving politically motivated false cases.
Dismissing the RJD manifesto, BJP leader and Jharkhand election in-charge Mangal Pandey said that the manifesto, which was “prepared at the behest of an accused languishing in jail” was “a crude joke on democracy that the people will not tolerate”.
He said that RJD had failed to put the region on the path of development during the Lalu-Rabri regime in unified Bihar. The current manifesto, added Pandey, was “an attempt to fool the peace-loving people of Jharkhand in the name of jal, jangal, jameen”, claiming that people were “living in harmony” under the BJP regime.