Alleging that Jharkhand had become a "cesspool of corruption, large-scale bungling and scams", the Jharkhand People's Party on Saturday announced a mass movement against the state's Bharatiya Janata Party-led government beginning November 15, the day the state was founded two years back.
The JPP, which was part of the coalition led by Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, also announced expulsion of two party legislators who were part of the state government and severing of ties with the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.
JPP president Mukesh Baba, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, said while advocating the release of extremists, the chief minister continued to imprison more than 350 "sons of the soil" who had been jailed while struggling for the creation of the tribal state.
He said all of them should be released and the cases against them withdrawn. Of the 350, 27 were facing cases under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
"It is better to refer to Jharkhand as a state of scams because it
is a common feature in each and every ministry and the department
of the government," he said.
He warned Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that "the people will not tolerate the misrule of the BJP anymore".
"The recent elections in several states have made it clear that that the BJP's popularity is at the lowest. The state of Uttar Pradesh is known to you... but we would certainly like to announce that the BJP is soon going to lose another state -- Jharkhand," he said.
He said the JPP and its youth wing, the All-Jharkhand Students Union, had decided to oppose the Marandi government, which was "looting the public exchequer".
He cited the example of the "tribal welfare scam" in which the state government purchased 600 vehicles for distribution among the tribal youth.
He said the vehicles had already been rejected by the Bangladesh and Sri Lankan governments because of technical problems. However, the Jharkhand government allegedly earmarked Rs 38 crores for building the bodies of these vehicles, the contract for which was given to the son of a senior Union minister.
Asked to identify the name of the person to whom the contract was given, Baba said, "It is somebody who goes by the name of Jayant Advani [son of Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani]."
He also referred to the prime minister's Gramin Sadak Yojna [Rural Road Development Programme] and said many irregularities had surfaced in the construction of the proposed 1830km road in the hilly state.
Congress MLA Theodore Kiro, who was also present, said, "If this is the state of affairs of this government, god save the people of Jharkhand."
The JPP chief said his party would support the Congress candidate during the Godda assembly by-poll.
Baba said that the Marandi government's initial slogan of bhay,
bhook aur bhrashtachar [fear, hunger & corruption] perfectly fitted it.
"I want to say that 18 out of Jharkhand's 22 districts are plagued
by extremists, especially those belonging to the Maoist Coordination Centre and the People's War," he said.
AJSU founder-member Lalit Murmu alleged that the Marandi government had disappointed more than 80 per cent of the tribals, for whom the state was created.
"Everywhere corruption is evident. Whether it is agriculture, cooperative, rural employment scheme, computerisation of land records and tenants passbook, disaster management and relief operation, irrigation or power, the governmental loot is omnipresent. It is a shame because crores of rupees are padding the pockets of the rulers," Murmu asserted.
He also alleged corruption in NABARD loan assistance, renovation of BHALCO lift irrigation scheme and rural electrification.
The JPP chief said the rampant unemployment in Jharkhand could be gauged from the fact that more than two lakh people were coming away from the state every year. In Delhi itself, more than two lakh tribal girls were working as maidservants.
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