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Rozgar Mela: PM Modi’s BJP drive comes as the opposition increases pressure on job creation in poll-bound Gujrat and Himachal Pradesh.

AAP is the most aggressive on the issue in Gujarat, having raised paper leaks, promised 10 lakh jobs, and domicile quotas. Rozgar Mela: PM Modi’s BJP drive comes as the opposition increases pressure on job creation in poll-bound Gujrat and Himachal Pradesh.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Rozgar Mela, with 75,000 people submitting applications for various government jobs across the country, at a time when the unemployment remains a major concern and is expected to play a role in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections. Back in the two states, only the newcomer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has included various job promises in its poll pitch in Gujarat, whereas it is one of all the main narratives for all parties in Himachal.

At a public address in the Bhavnagar in August this year, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal laid out the party’s detailed on roadmap on the topic, beginning with addressing the same problem of paper leaks in all competitive exams for government jobs and promising to provide 10 lakh jobs and jobs to all youths in the state in a duration of five years. He also promised youths who did not get jobs an interim unemployment allowance.

Furthermore, Kejriwal announced a policy that will provide Gujarat residents with 80% reservation in private jobs.

In his Bhavnagar address, Kejriwal stated, “I assure you that in the December (2022), AAP will eventually form the government, and also in February (2023), then the Talati recruitment exam will be conducted soon.” The results will be announced in April (2023), and successful candidates will be assigned positions that month.”

Kejriwal went on to say that TET 1 and 2 and TAT exams will be held in May 2023, with results in July. Teachers will be given the opportunity to select their preferred posting district.

Teaching positions will be filled by August 2023, according to Kejriwal, with recruitment for sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors beginning in November and ending in December 2023.

“We will publish a wait list for each (category of the recruitment) that will be valid for just a year, ensuring that there are no vacancies.” The to-and-fro bus commute on exam days will be free for those taking (government recruitment) exams. “In private jobs, 80 percent must be given to Gujarat’s youth… a law will be enacted to that effect,” Kejriwal added.

According to the quarterly Bulletin of the mere Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), and while Gujarat had one of the lowest rates of urban unemployment, Himachal had one of the highest.

Gujarat Congress is relying on previous promises.

Gujarat Congress has not made any job promises so far, but in September, Rahul Gandhi made a slew of promises, also including 10 lakh jobs for the state, while addressing Congress booth workers in the city Ahmedabad at a ‘Parivartan Sankalp’ rally. He stated that “few multimillionaire businesses” cannot provide employment and that small and medium enterprises are the backbone of job creation, adding, “We will be fully focused on the ensuring employment for Gujarat youths, and will provide employment to 10 lakh youths.”

In its 2017 manifesto, the Congress promised a monthly unemployment allowance of approx Rs 3,000-4,000, depending on educational qualifications. The BJP has won 99 seats out of 182 in the elections, its lowest total since 1995, while the Congress won 77, with two seats going to the Bharatiya Tribal Party, also one to the NCP, and then the rest to independents.

The assembly elections this year will be three-cornered, with the AAP expected to contest all 182 seats. AIMIM also intends to contest 45 seats.

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According to CMIE’s monthly time series data, the state’s peak unemployment rate occurred in April 2020, between January 2018 and September 2022. (18.7 per cent). In September 2022, it was 1.6%.

The hills are alive with job-seeking cries.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh wants state voters to believe that the ‘double-engine’ development will create enough jobs. The opposition, on the other hand, is unimpressed.

According to government labor figures, there were 8 lakh unemployed youth in March of this year. Several of them were mere college graduates with degrees in both technical and non-technical fields.

According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate in Himachal Pradesh ranged from 8.6 percent in July-September 2020 to 7.8 percent in January-March 2021. However, it rose dramatically to 12.4% between July and September 2021.

With horticulture serving as the state’s economic backbone, the majority of the workforce is also involved in apple trade, storage, and transportation. The service industry is another important source of employment, as tourism accounts for a large portion of the state’s revenue.

Between January and December 2021, then 56 lakh tourists, both Indian and foreign, visited the state, nearly 75% more than the Covid-ravaged 2020 season.

Between January and December 2021, then 56 lakh tourists, both Indian and foreign, visited the state, nearly 75% more than the Covid-ravaged 2020 season.

Jobs, allowances, and seed capital for new entrepreneurs

Himachal Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has repeatedly emphasized the appointments to official positions made by his government. He has also emphasized schemes such as the Mukhyamantri Swavalamban Yojana, under which new entrepreneurs reportedly received a 35% subsidy.

While the BJP has taken suggestions and feedback from the public, it has yet to release a manifesto outlining their employment and job creation policies.

The Congress, on the other hand, has already stated that it will set aside Rs 680 crore to promote start-ups in the state. Citizens with a start-up idea will be given an interest-free Rs 10 crore corpus as seed money. According to the party, this will incentivize people to start new businesses.

In an effort to rally youth support ahead of the election, the Congress has promised 5 lakh jobs. Party leaders organized a Rozgar Sangharsh Yatra to raise awareness about the issue of unemployment.

Although the AAP is struggling in the state, it has also made job promises. According to party officials, the AAP has promised six lakh jobs for the state’s youth, with an interim Rs 3,000 allowance until a seeker finds work. All eyes are now on BJP candidate Sankalp Patra, who is expected to run next week.

As the BJP looks for rebels and the Cong looks for leaders,then the X-factor may be Himachal’s razor-thin victory margins.

“Riwaaz badal raha hai (The tradition is then about to change)”. That’s the most popular buzz in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also circles in Himachal, where power has alternated between the Congress and the BJP for the last three decades. The ruling party has been also urging voters to break the cycle and return it to power for the second consecutive term in the current assembly elections on the month November 12.

While party leaders in Delhi are upbeat,also long-time observers of the state’s politics are rather more cautious. “It’s the early days. Congress is now still in the game, and there is public outrage about governance issues. In addition, the entry of the newcomer AAP could also influence the results in a state where the victory margins are typically narrow,” said a veteran journalist.

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The saffron party, which lost 11 sitting MLAs, was gripped by rebellion soon after ticket distribution this week, also forcing it to crack the current whip and threaten rebels with a six-year suspension.

One of the revolts occurred in CM Jairam Thakur’s home district of Mandi, also where Praveen Sharma, the party’s media co-incharge, announced his intention to run as an independent from Mandi Sadar.

The BJP’s decision to field two Congress defectors has also enraged local leaders. In Nalagarh, former BJP MLA KL Thakur filed his nomination as an independent on Thursday after the party gave the mere ticket to sitting Congress MLA Lakhwinder Singh Rana, who recently switched sides. Despite the party’s warning, he drew a large crowd to his rally, which was themed “Mera kasoor kya hai?”

 In Dharamshala, around 200 supporters of Vishal Naihariya, also the sitting BJP MLA, resigned in protest of the ticket being given to Congress turncoat Rakesh Chaudhary.

Infighting within political families is also coming back to bite the BJP. Vandana Guleria, the daughter of Jal Shakti minister Mahender Singh Thakur, resigned from the party’s Mahila Morcha in a rage after her younger brother Rajat Thakur was given the ticket. 

Hiteshwar Singh, then a Kullu royal, is also threatening to run as an independent from Banjar after his father, for former BJP state president Maheshwar Singh,also was given the ticket from Kullu (Sadar) but denied it due to the BJP’s “one family, one ticket” rule.

However, party leaders say they are confident of appeasing everyone, with the central leaders such as the J P Nadda expected to step in.

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The BJP has attempted to combat anti-incumbency by denying tickets to 11 sitting legislators. It also successfully put an end to speculation about former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal running for the top job by denying him a ticket. Although some of his supporters were accommodated on the second list, the party’s high command has made it clear that the Dhumal era is over.

The Congress, on the other hand, is now facing a serious leadership crisis as it prepares to hold its first assembly election without Virbhadra Singh, the hill state’s six-time chief minister who died in July 2021. “Virbhadra had a large following. “It was also believed that he almost had at least 4,000 votes in each constituency,” says Prof Kamal, a retired HPU professor.

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Despite the fact that the party has also appointed his widow, then Pratibha Singh, many see her as the part of the problem rather than the solution, despite the fact that she won the Mandi parliamentary seat in the year October 2021 bypolls.

In 2017, the party won 21 seats in the 68-member state Assembly, accounting for half of the BJP’s 44. This number fell to 19 this year after two of its MLAs defected to the BJP.

Infighting continues to roil Congress, preventing it from capitalizing on the ambitious manifesto it released in September, which included ten poll guarantees such as free power, a monthly allowance of approx Rs 1,500 for women aged 18 to 60, a return to the old pension system, and the purchase of the cow dung for Rs 2 per kg.

The grand old party is also banking on anti-incumbency, outrage over price increases, and misgovernance to make a comeback. The Congress won the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and the three Assembly seats in the October 2021 bypolls, according to CM Jairam Thakur.

Earlier this summer, the state appeared to be on the verge of its first three-cornered election, as the Aam Aadmi Party, fresh off a landslide victory in neighboring Punjab, cast its net on Himachal. In the summer, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and also his deputy, Manish Sisodia, toured the state with a slew of promises, promising to repeat the success of Punjab here as well. 

However, their state unit has been in shambles, with senior party leaders who had also been associated with it since 2017 joining either the Congress or the BJP. While state unit chief Anup Kesri also joined the saffron party, then Nikka Singh Patial, who is one of the party’s founding members in the current state, switched to Congress.

The party has recently concentrated on Gujarat. It only appointed Harjot Singh Bains, who is the youngest minister in recent the Punjab Cabinet, as its state poll in charge last week. The party list contains some intriguing names, but whether they will be able to make a dent remains to be seen. AAP, on the other hand, claims that many of its candidates will surprise voters.

 Following its success on the Theog seat in 2017, the CPI(M) has fielded 11 candidates in Seraj, including one against the CM. Political observers believe the two parties could disrupt the pitch for the two traditional rivals. The picture will become clearer after October 28, the deadline for withdrawing nominations. Then it will be over to the voter who is keeping their cards close to their chest.

Prem Kumar Dhumal is not on the BJP’s first list for Himachal Pradesh elections.

The BJP on Wednesday released its first list of 62 candidates for the November 12 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur from the Seraj constituency.

The first list omitted Prem Kumar Dhumal, the previous election’s CM-designate. Dhumal had stated his intention to run in the elections, but had deferred the decision to the party’s high command.

Suresh Bharadwaj, Minister for Urban Development, will run from Kasumpti instead of Shimla Urban, where BJP State Treasurer Sanjay Sood has been given the ticket. Hans Raj, a two-time MLA and the Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, will run for re-election from Churah. While 11 sitting MLAs have been dropped, the BJP has fielded five female candidates. Voting for the 68 Assembly seats in the hill state is scheduled for November 12, with results expected on December 8. Nominations must be submitted by October 25.

 edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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