Bihar polls: Unemployment is the chink in NDA armour, feels opposition

The Grand Alliance (GA) parties in Bihar including the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress are hoping to make unemployment their chief poll plank to counter issues raised by the ruling dispensation in the upcoming state assembly polls.

The opposition parties are enthused after their recent initiatives to draw youth’s attention to the issue delivered good results. The web portal launched by RJD to register the unemployed youth has so far seen about 5 lakh youth registering and the drive by Bihar Pradesh Youth Congress (BPYC) to garner support of the youth is also receiving good response, claim leaders from the two parties.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had on September 5 launched a dedicated portal and a toll free number for preparing a data base of unemployed youths in Bihar.

“We will soon come out with a roadmap to provide jobs to all the youths, who registered themselves with the portal,” said RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari, adding that the party was committed to formulate policies for creating job opportunities if it comes to power in the state.

On the other hand, the BPYC is launching padyatras across the state on Thursday to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday as ‘unemployed day’.

The march in Patna would start from Patna university campus and end near Ambedkar Chauraha in Musallahpur hat area. “Later, similar protest marches would be carried out across the state,” said BPYC chief Gunjan Patel.

The BPYC’s initiative to mobilize the youth has led to more than 2.25 lakh people registering themselves with the wing’s website so far. Patel claimed that the wing had so far received more than 6 lakh missed calls and wing workers are helping them to register themselves with the BPYC portal.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Bihar, Shaktisinh Gohil, has already announced that those registering themselves would be given priority in the appointments if the Congress or the GA formed the government in the state.

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Former director of AN Sinha institute of social studies DK Diwakar said that unemployment was a major issue, which the ruling dispensation was evading.

“Joblessness, which was triggered due to demonetisation, has assumed the worst proportion after the Covid crisis. Although it’s an important poll issue, everything depends on how the opposition rakes it up. It will definitely yield results if the party workers directly reach out to the masses and seek their support,” said Diwakar.

Diwakar, who is also a socio-political analyst, said that the ruling party leaders have been tactfully using sentimental issues like the deaths of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and senior politician Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Ram Janmbhumi issue, removal of Article 370, NRC and other nationalist issues in an attempt to unite the electorate.

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Congress leader and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra said the state might ignore the joblessness issue at its own peril.

“Bihar’s unemployment rate increased 31.2 percentage points, rising to 46.6% in April 2020, according to a survey conducted by the centre for monitoring Indian economy (CMIE). Over a longer time period, unemployment has moved from 1.6% in April 2017 to its current rate,” he added.

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