Pure Politics: Why are all parties talking about jobs?

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
6 Min Read

New Delhi: In the general elections, the ruling party and the opposition have tried to corner each other by raising many issues ranging from religion to caste. But, for the first time in this election, it is being seen that the issue of employment has come to the forefront and all parties have to talk about it. The youth, especially the first-time voter generation, clearly say that now the time has come to vote on the issue of employment. In fact, in recent years, since the involvement of young voters in politics has increased, it has become necessary for all parties to talk about employment and make it their main political issue.

Opportunity for the opposition

The opposition alliance Bharat has made employment its main election agenda. The alliance says that if its government is formed, the first task will be to provide 30 lakh government jobs. Most of the opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav are talking about this in every meeting. Its effect is also visible on the ground.

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Double Benefit
The opposition is getting two benefits by talking about employment. The first advantage is that it has been successful in preparing a different political pitch apart from nationalism or Hindutva. The second advantage is – access to the biggest vote bank i.e. the youth. In the last two general elections, the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi maintained its hold on the young voters.

Pressure on the government
A senior Congress leader said that in the second term of the Modi government, most employment and economic issues are being raised on public forums. After Covid, this issue has become more vocal. Recently, students from UP to Bihar staged aggressive agitations over paper leaks and jobs. The government had to bow down in many of these cases.

Focus on employment

The biggest focus of the opposition's campaign is on employment. Almost a quarter of the campaign is on jobs. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav had said in a conversation with NBT that in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, he sought votes in the name of employment and got them. After this, for as long as he was in the government, he gave jobs to the people. This is the reason why he is getting the support of the youth in the general elections this time too.

Prime Minister's reply
It is not that BJP has given free hand to the opposition on this issue. PM Narendra Modi himself is connecting with the youth on behalf of the government and the party. In a conversation with NBT, he had said on the question related to employment, 'Many new employment opportunities have been created in the last 10 years. Lakhs of youth have got government jobs. New employment opportunities have come in the private sector. According to EPFO, 6 crore new members have joined it in the last seven years. PLFS data shows that the unemployment rate which was 6% in 2017 has now come down to 3%.'

BJP's action plan
The PM had said, 'A report of SKOCH Group has come on how effective our micro finance policies are. This report says that in the last 10 years, 5 crore person-years of employment have been created every year. Today there are more than 1.25 lakh startups in the country. A large number of employment opportunities are being created through these. We have prepared an action plan for the first 100 days of our government. In that, we have added 25 more days separately for the youth. We are considering the suggestions of the youth coming from all over the country and after the results come, work will start on it rapidly.'

Electoral gains
Experts say that there is a difference between raising an issue and garnering votes for a party on it. Unemployment was a big issue in the opinion poll of election analyst Yashwant Deshmukh's agency. He says, 'For the last few years, it has been continuously coming to the fore that the economic issue has become serious for the common people. But, many factors are needed to turn it in one's favour. He says that the government cannot be cornered only in the name of inflation or unemployment, rather it has to be told how the ruling party is responsible for this. If these issues have to be challenged, then the opposition will have to come forward not just with complaints but with alternatives and vision.

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