Updated: December 26, 2019 7:20:49 am
Independent MLA Saryu Roy, who defeated Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das in a bitterly fought contest from Jamshedpur West constituency in the Assembly elections, speaks to Abhishek Angad about what the next government should do, and why the outgoing Chief Minister came a cropper in the polls. Excerpts:
What will be your role in the Hemant Soren-led government?
I will have no role to play. I will be independent and will support them according to merit (of each issue). As of now, they have my moral support and I would never want to destabilise this government. If any issue arises, I will make them understand it.
The JMM manifesto contained many populist promises. What do you feel should be the Soren government’s priorities?
They should first form a competent team to look into the state’s finances. There has to be an assessment of the state’s liabilities. There is now a hostile government at the Centre and money is required for many Central schemes. It has to be seen how the work will be completed. Since the Congress is also part of the alliance, a message should not come out that the Jharkhand government is run from Delhi. I think they have to curtail populist measures and strengthen the house first.
Unemployment has been central to Soren’s campaign. But where will jobs comes from?
It is very difficult to generate jobs here (in Jharkhand). If you give government jobs then it will impact the exchequer. They need to calculate the difference in liabilities of outsourced work versus people working directly. They need a sound financial adviser with clear priorities.
Going back to the elections, what worked for you?
There was resentment against Raghubar Das and people were sympathetic to me, because I was denied a ticket (in BJP) when others accused of crime were fielded (as candidates). Das had developed a sort of arrogance – when people approached him with a complaint, he used to tell them rudely that they were not part of his vote bank. He promised a lot of things which were never fulfilled. Das’s son used to roam around in a vehicle with siren, and people were angry at the behavior of the Chief Minister’s relatives. Many poor vendors were harassed unnecessarily in his constituency, while I tried to protect them in my constituency (Roy had won from adjacent Jamshedpur East in 2014). So it was a mix of several factors.
Is there a message for the BJP central leadership from the election results?
I cannot give any message to the central leadership because I am no longer in the party. But I am still unable to comprehend how and why voices (of state BJP) were not heard. Das remained protected by Amit Shah or (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi-ji. Of late, many (BJP) MLAs felt humiliated. The (party’s) central leadership turned a deaf ear to the problems.
A report by your committee spoke about the need to cancel a consultancy contract awarded to Meinhardt, when Raghubar Das was the state Urban Development minister, irregularities. You were very vocal about it. Do you expect the new government to proceed on it?
It is at a stage where the government has to give sanction to register an FIR. Whether the next government will do that or not, that is to be seen.
You were earlier Food minister in the Raghubar Das government which linked Aadhaar with PDS, resulting in reported problems surrounding disbursal of ration. Many people could not get ration. Retrospectively, do you think it was a flawed decision?
I don’t think there was a problem in linking Aadhaar (with PDS), but the technology has to be pro-people. One can say there are flaws in ground-level implementation. There are a lot of shops were there is no signal, and it has to be strengthened.
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