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'BJP is turning into a party of capitalists'

By R Krishna Das
July 30, 2016 14:24 IST
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'The party had opposed FDI when it was in the Opposition. Now, its government has allowed FDI in all sectors.'
'Modi had opposed GST when he was chief minister. Now, he is strongly advocating it.'
'The BJP must come clean and inform its supporters and the people why it is diverging from its basic agenda.'

Modi's 10 commandments to transform the economyJharkhand Vikas Morcha President Babulal Marandi, a former member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, says it is diverging from its ideology.

Marandi, below, left, tells R Krishna Das that the influence of national parties is decreasing fast and regional parties are emerging as a strong alternative.

As the first chief minister of Jharkhand, you scripted the growth story of the state. Are you satisfied with the progress it has made since?

It is not a question of my satisfaction. People in the state feel cheated. They are struggling and living in deprivation.

Of the three states that came into being in November 2000, Jharkhand was the only one to achieve statehood following a decades-long struggle. After the formation of the state, expectations were high. But the people of the state did not get what they thought they would get.

Whichever party came to power imposed its agenda, ignoring the interests of the common man. The resentment is strong in rural areas and can take an ugly shape any time. After all, Jharkhand has a glorious history of struggle.

What went wrong on the development front?

The state is moving in the wrong direction. A major proportion of the population in Jharkhand consists of tribals. The main occupation is agriculture.

But the state government is focussed the least on this sector. In the name of development, roads and dams have been constructed.

But these are of no direct benefit to the people until and unless the government focuses on agriculture and makes villages the centres of production.

Agriculture is no longer viable in the state. In the one-and-a-half years that the BJP has ruled the state, no development has been seen anywhere or on any index.

The government (led by Chief Minister Raghubar Das) has no vision. There is no proper plan also in place to promote growth.

Considering that Jharkhand is rich in minerals, what is the state of industrialisation in the state?

The BJP governments, both at the Centre and in Jharkhand, are focusing on industrialisation. But this is not to benefit the people, but to help the industrialists, whose motive is to make a profit.

With industrial growth, problems also increase.

If the government had a vision, it would have allowed industry to come up only in the coal pitheads. Then, there would have been no issue of displacement or rehabilitation, the major concern for any such project.

But no government considers this point. The interests of the people are ignored to help industries.

Is there any possibility of your return to the BJP?

The BJP is not the party it was earlier. It has become a party of capitalists. It has lost its ideology and agenda after coming to power.

The party had opposed FDI (foreign direct investment) when it was in the Opposition. Now, its government at the Centre has allowed FDI in all sectors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opposed the GST (goods and services tax) when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. Now, he is strongly advocating it.

The party must come clean on both issues and inform its supporters and the people why it is diverging from its basic agenda.

With me, things have moved far away (from the BJP) and the possibility of my return to the party is bleak.

The rift is widening though I still enjoy a good rapport with a section of the BJP cadre and leaders.

Babulal MarandiPolitical instability in Jharkhand has been cited as one of the reasons to block the development work....

Yes, political instability in the state has been a stumbling block for development. For the first time, the incumbent government has an absolute majority. But it has failed to match up to the expectations of the people.

Malnutrition is a major issue that the government has failed to address. Those in power are misusing the government machinery.

During the recently concluded Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP leaders misused their power and set a wrong precedent. Of the two seats in the state, the BJP would have bagged one and the other would have gone to the Opposition that put up a joint candidate.

A day before polling, BJP leaders approached a person against whom an arrest warrant had been issued. This person helped the BJP through cross-voting. The ruling party bagged both the seats.

The BJP government set a bad precedent in the state. That is why Jharkhand is known for all the wrong reasons.

But how can you expect stability in a small state such as Jharkhand when four to five political parties are in the election fray?

In a democracy, political parties will come and provide options to the people. Politics in the country is no longer bipolar. Every political party has its say.

The influence of national parties is diminishing fast with the electorate more inclined towards regional parties. They are voting for the local parties. The mandate in several states is testimony to this trend.

That people are still living in deprivation has given regional outfits their strength.

People have more faith in local outfits. They feel that regional parties are more connected with them and can address their problems in a more effective way.

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R Krishna Das
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