Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (left) and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav (right)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (left) and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav (right)

Political parties lay thrust on jobs, employment in Bihar campaign to woo youth

By Sanjay | Updated: Oct 31, 2020 21:31 IST

Patna (Bihar) [India], October 31 (ANI): Campaigning for Bihar elections is at its peak with two more phases to go and employment and jobs appear to have emerged as a key issue in the polls with political parties having made tall and ambitious promises in a state where youth form a large section of the population.
Jobs, employment, migration, skilling, unemployment allowance are being talked about in rallies and political parties have made lofty promises to woo the youth. Apart from youth, the parties are also seeking to woo other sections including farmers and women.
The election will decide if three-time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continues to hold to his appeal or Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)'s Tejashwi Yadav makes his mark. It will also give a verdict on the electoral strategy of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan to contest outside National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and of some other parties coming together to form a third front with Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha as their chief ministerial candidate.
Some realignment ahead of elections has seen Janata Dal (United), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) contesting the polls as part of NDA and RJD, Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) CPI (M-L) as part of Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).
Bihar has 11.17 lakh first-time voters while an estimated 24 per cent of voters are between 18 and 29 years of age.
Among the parties in the NDA, BJP caught attention with its promise to provide free COVID-19 vaccination to people of Bihar once the vaccine is ready and available on a mass scale.
In rallies and election meetings, BJP leaders have been constantly referring to RJD rule in the past as "jungle raj" and seeking votes for the ruling NDA.
The party also made an ambitious promise of creating 19 lakh employment opportunities apparently to counter the promise by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav to provide 10 lakh government jobs if voted to power.
BJP leaders have also pointed out that job promise made by Tejashwi Yadav was "economically unfeasible", noting that the salaries and payments of the current government employees amount to Rs 52,734 crores and another 10 lakh employees will push the amount to Rs 1.11 lakh crore.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi noted that the state budget was nearly Rs 2,11,761 crore and asked that if such a large amount is spent on salary, how will expenses on other welfare measures including on students and women be met.
Bihar has a large migrant population and parties are laying thrust on creating local job opportunities.
The BJP has said three lakh new teachers would be recruited, five lakh employment opportunities would be created in the IT sector, one lakh in the health sector and around 10 lakh new opportunities would be added through 1,000 new farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and strengthening supply chains.
"It is our commitment that 10,000 doctors, 50,000 paramedical staff and in total one lakh people will get job opportunities in the health department. With this, the second AIIMS in Bihar in Darbhanga given by the Prime Minister will be operationalised by 2024," the party has said.
The ruling JD(U) through its manifesto has sought to take forward its "good governance" pitch with promise of all-round development. As in 2015 elections, it has come out with "Saat Nischay (seven resolves)".
The manifesto with tagline "Poore hote vaade, ab hai naye iraade (promises getting fulfilled, we have new resolves)" says that the party-led government will open centre of excellence in the Industrial Training Institute (ITIs) in every district and polytechnic at sub division-level to provide training to youth in several areas including in technology related to optical fibre.
The seven resolves includes schemes to ensure basic necessities such as piped drinking water, toilets and concrete drains and electricity connection to every household.
The manifesto also talks of enhancing skills of youth to brighten their job prospects, promoting entrepreneurship among women by providing them financial assistance, installing solar lights in every village, irrigation facility to every agriculture field and additional health facilities for people.
The party has promised that a new department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will be set up for the purpose.
The JD(U) has promised benefits for women entrepreneurs and cash incentives to give a boost to education among girls.
"To encourage higher education, unmarried women who cross the "inter" stage will get Rs 25,000 and those who graduate will receive Rs 50,000," the party has said.
The manifesto expresses party's commitment that "in no condition will crime, corruption or communalism be tolerated".
The RJD, which is leading the grand alliance, has promised to provide 10 lakh government jobs to youth after coming to power.
Apart from the ambitious promise on jobs, Rashtriya Janata Dal has promised higher Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for farmers, better health care facilities and "smart village concept".
The manifesto also talks about the concept of "equal pay for equal work" along with Rs 1500 unemployment allowance for youth up to 35 years who do not have jobs.
Another big announcement made by Tejashwi Yadav is to increase the education budget to 22 per cent. The party has said teachers will be inducted in government schools on a war footing along with a focus on e-learning for students.
The Congress in its manifesto called "Badlav Patr" promises loan waiver for farmers and 50 per cent subsidy in electricity bills to farmers consuming up to 100 units. The manifesto also promises that the party will reject farm laws of the Centre if voted to power.
Apart from allowance to the unemployed, filling of government posts, the party has promised free education for girls up to post-graduation level and a scooty for girl students scoring 90 per cent marks in Class 12th. The party has promised inclusion of Maithili in school syllabus and Mazdoor Information Centre in all state capitals.
LJP's manifesto has "Bihar first Bihari first" tagline and the party has promised a caste- and religion-free society and all-round development.
It has promised to build a web portal where employers and job seeker can connect. It has also promised to constitute Yuva Commission and separate toilets for women in all the block headquarters, gram panchayat headquarters and markets.
The party has said vacant government posts will be filled soon, all employees working on a contract will be regularised and steps taken for prevention of flood and drought.
The LJP has said that a temple for Sita will be constructed at Sitamarhi on lines of grand Ram temple being built in Ayodhya and there will be a six-lane road corridor connecting the two towns. The construction for "Sita-Ram" corridor will be done till the border with UP, the party said.
The LJP manifesto promises a film city and coaching city in Bihar, reservation in promotions to SC/STs.
Plurals Party, a new entrant to the electoral scene, has also made ambitious promises in its manifesto with its chief Pushpam Priya Choudhary laying focus on economic development of the state.
Bihar went for the first phase of elections on October 28. The next two phases of polls will be held on November 3 and 7 and the results will be declared on November 10. (ANI)