The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Bihar's main Opposition party, on Saturday released its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly election. The manifesto reiterates the party's promise of more employment opportunities and improved health infrastructure.
The document was unveiled by the 'Grand Alliance's chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav, who has targeted the current Nitish Kumar government over rising unemployment in the state.
"This is not a manifesto but it is a promise. It is a promise of change. It is a detailed document touching upon all relevant aspects to make Bihar prosperous," he said.
Will immediately provide 10 lakh jobs, says RJD
The RJD's manifesto, titled 'Hamara Pran (Our resolve)', highlights the promise of "immediately" providing 10 lakh jobs to youth in the state.
"People used to mock us, how will we give employment¦jobs. There is a difference between earning and jobs. One can earn by selling pakodas, cleaning the drains, or picking up garbage. We are not saying that. We are clearly saying that we will provide 10 lakh jobs. We are going to provide government jobs in our first cabinet meeting itself," Tejashwi was quoted as saying.
He added, "The Bihar government can easily provide 4 lakh jobs... The state has a budget of Rs 2.13 lakh crore of which only 60 percent has been spent. Nitish Kumar has not been able to spend the remaining 40 percent, which is Rs 80,000 crore."
Appealing to voters with a "vow" to bring about change in Bihar, Tejashwi said that the party will work to equip the state to compete with the national employment average.
"We want to make Bihar better. For this we have to compete with the national (employment) average... This is not a manifesto. This is our promise for change. It is a vow. We will make it a reality... I repeat, Nitish Kumar is not being able to manage Bihar. He is tired," he was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Tejashwi also targeted the BJP over its poll promises regarding employment.
Accusing the saffron party of making "fake promises", he taunted the party by exaggerating its poll announcement of creating 19 lakh jobs in the next five years.
"I could have also promised one crore jobs just for the sake of promise. If we had to make a false promise, why would we say we would create 10 lakh jobs? We could have also said 50 lakh or 1 crore jobs but why 10 lakh? We have to make Bihar better. We don't make false promises like the BJP," he said.
The RJD has also promised to build employment centres in every district and raise the minimum number of compulsory work days under NREGA to 200. The party also said that employment will be generated for professionals including teachers, professors, junior engineers, doctors, nurses lab technicians.
"We need more police for the law and order of the state. Manipur is a smaller state but it has more police per lakh population than Bihar," Tejashwi said.
RJD promises to reduce electricity prices, revive old industries
The 16-page manifesto also includes announcements on issues like "higher education, smart villages, self-help groups, healthcare infrastructure and developments for industries and agriculture sectors".
Additionally, Tejashwi promised that a tax differential and tax waiver scheme will be implemented to support employment-generating industries, The New Indian Express reported.
"The job application fee will also be waived off for the youths of Bihar applying for jobs in the government departments. And those students who come to examination centres from their home in the state will be given travel fare also," he added.
The report also said that the RJD "laid down the plans for fulfilling the demands of office assistants, statistical volunteers, librarians, Urdu teachers, Aanganwadi workers and assistants, Asha workers, rural doctors, the Jeevika didis".
The RJD manifesto also stated that it will revive mills producing sugar, paper, jute and others, The Print report added.
Additionally, the party sought to appeal to farmer voters by promising not to implement the Centre's "three anti-farmer laws" in the state but introduce a new law regarding the APMC.
"Under the new law, the government mandis will procure produce at a higher rate and there will be a guarantee that the government will buy the produce," the manifesto said.
Tejashwi takes swipe at Sushil Kumar Modi
Tejashwi, also the Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, criticised Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. He accused the BJP leader of ignoring the migrant crisis triggered by the COVID-19 lockdown in April.
"The government said that Bihar's hard working people would commit robberies. They even said Bihar youth go to other states for work for fun," he added.
With inputs from agencies