Bhubaneswar : With the Kandhamal communal violence in the backdrop, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday went all out to wash away the “stains” by promising complete security to all communities 1to perform religious programmes in his party’s manifesto.
In the 40-page manifesto marked by the absence of any spectacular poll promise for the electorate, the only thing evident was Naveen’s eagerness to prove his secular credentials. “Each bone of my body is secular,” read the caption with Naveen’s picture on the back cover of the manifesto booklet. In the manifesto released at the BJD headquarters on Friday afternoon, Naveen said special attention would be given to the development of education, health, economy and culture of the minority community.
In the manifesto, Naveen claimed that in the past five years, he had provided grant-in-aid to all schools, colleges and health centres run by Christian institutions and gave grant-in-aid to teachers of 87 madrasas. Grants for repairs and reconstruction of all religious institutions like temples, churches and mosques damaged during communal riots have been given, he claimed.
But prominent Christian leader and member of National Integration Council John Dayal said, “The ghost of Kandhamal will always haunt him. Secularism is not in the bones, it is in the action,” Dayal told The Indian Express.
The BJD has promised that no one will remain hungry and promised free electricity to farmers. The party has also promised a specially constituted authority for development of the physically handicapped.
Other promises in the manifesto are generation of 15 lakh employment in the industrial sector, establishment of 5,000 girl hostels to accommodate five lakh girls in the next five years, expansion of Mission Shakti programme to make five lakh more woman self-reliant and drainage and sewerage, water-supply and road development in all urban areas.