Parties in race to woo around 71 lakh young voters in Jharkhand

| | Ranchi
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Parties in race to woo around 71 lakh young voters in Jharkhand

Monday, 01 April 2024 | PTI | Ranchi

Political parties in Jharkhand are leaving no stone unturned to woo nearly 71 lakh voters in the age group of 18 and 29, who could play a significant role in electing candidates.

Ruling JMM is banking on a slew of schemes, ranging from providing education loans to imparting skills, launched by the state government for the youth.

The BJP claimed that youths would be one of the major focus areas in the election manifesto of the party, while the Congress said that its leader Rahul Gandhi has already announced five promises to the youth, including filling up 30 lakh vacant government posts across the country, including Jharkhand.

Of the 2.55 crore electors eligible to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls, 70.83 lakh are young voters and of them, 34.85 lakh are women, according to the state electoral rolls.

Of the total young voters, 22.33 lakh electors, including 11.39 lakh women, are between the age group of 18 and 22 and will exercise their franchise for the first time in Jharkhand where parliamentary and assembly polls were held five years ago.

Among the first-time voters, the number of electors between the age group of 18 and 19 is 8.08 lakh, including 4.48 lakh women voters, according to the state electoral rolls.

State leaders cutting across parties are reaching out to young voters with their existing schemes and promises to galvanise their support in the parliamentary polls.

Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been an “icon among young people” not only in India but also in the world.

“Youths have been in focus area of PM Modi. Hordes of programmes such as Start-up India, Stand-up India and entrepreneurship promotion were launched, targeting young citizens of the country. For higher education, the number of institutes like IITs, IIMs and AIIMS and others have increased during the last 10 years,” he told PTI.

Shahdeo said that focus on the youths will also be reflected in the party’s upcoming poll manifesto.

Congress spokesperson Sonal Shanti said that if opposition bloc INDIA comes to power, they would first discontinue the ‘Agniveer’ scheme.

“Job creation would be our prime focus if we come to power. Guaranteed apprenticeship with a stipend of Rs 1 lakh annually for graduate and diploma holders, would be rolled out and over 30 lakh vacancies in the government sector would be filled up and job security to the people working in the unorganised sector would be ensured,” he told PTI.

A JMM office-bearer said that the coalition government in Jharkhand launched various schemes for youths, including ‘Guruji Credit Card’ for education loan, ‘Manki Munda Scholarship’ for technical education to girls, ‘Mukhya Mantri Sarthi Yojana’ (a block level skill mission) and 75 per cent reservation to locals in private companies. “We are reaching out to young voters with these schemes,” he said.

Political analysts said that young voters play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of candidates in every election.

National Election Watch (NEW) State Coordinator Sudhir Pal told PTI that the number of young voters has increased due to various awareness programmes by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

National Election Watch is a nationwide campaign on electoral reforms, and improving democracy and governance in India.

“I think the sizable young voters will put pressure on political parties as they are vocal towards their issues such as employment. So, political parties will not dare to take them lightly,” he said.

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