Jharkhand Congress President Ajoy Kumar has said that a government led by the party will abolish the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication system if it comes to power, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

In October 2017, 11-year-old Santoshi Kumari in Simdega district in the state had died of starvation, months after her family’s ration card was cancelled because it was not linked to their Aadhaar. The girl, a Dalit, had barely eaten for eight days, because her family had not received their quota of subsidised foodgrains for six months. Right to Food activists alleged that glitches in the Aadhaar-based Public Distribution System had led to at least seven more starvation deaths in the state by March 2018.

Earlier in 2017, the central government had issued an order making Aadhaar compulsory for accessing subsidised food grain through the Public Distribution System.

Kumar claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party always blamed the poor. “If our government comes to power, we will abolish the Aadhaar-based biometric authentication system,” he told The Indian Express. “Let us imagine: out of 100, 10 people who are from the lower middle class and should not have got rice under Antyodaya scheme got it… But Food Corporation of India loses million tonnes of foodgrain due to lack of storage facilities. That is okay, but people eating rice is not okay?…BJP has a sick mentality. They always blame the poor.”

Kumar also said the United Progressive Alliance will be able to win nine to 11 out of 14 seats in the state. The Congress has an alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik-JVM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Kumar said the performance of the state government led by the BJP will have impact on the Lok Sabha polls. “Schools are closing down, ration cards are being cancelled and there is joblessness,” he said. “There is distress in rural areas. The destruction of the social fabric and alienation of Scheduled Tribes are big problems. People are going to vote keeping these issues in mind. Every section has been hit.”

Elections in Jharkhand are being held in four phases, with three phases remaining. Polling will be held next on May 6, followed by May 12 and May 19. Results will be out on May 23.