Four years of Modi sarkar and the emphasis on employment
The Narendra Modi Government is going to complete four years and celebrations are about to begin. What is interesting is that even before the completion of four years in power, the Government has gone into election mode. So, it is being speculated that this year’s anniversary celebrations will include listing of the work done and future promises. The Government will certainly talk about its achievements in the past four years, on the basis of which it can embark on the mission election. Sources say the focus of the Government will be on employment.
The Opposition has been regularly attacking the Government on the employment issue, claiming that Modi had said during the election campaign that if his Government would come to power, he would give jobs to two crore people every year. The Government and the BJP claim that in these four years, almost 10 crore people have been given self-employment. The Government is putting forward the data of loans from the Mudra Yojana as the opportunity of self-employment. In an interview, PM Modi had said that even selling pakoras is employment. Later, Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, advised people to set up paan shops instead of chasing Government jobs.
However, sources say that employment data has been sought from all Ministries and departments concerned. Officials have been asked to send the details of their projects and employment generated with those projects, and this data will be published before May 26. But before that, there is an ongoing war amongst the intellectual class over the employment data. Many types of data are being put forward in favour of and against the Government.
Famous economist and one of the members of the economic advisory committee of the Prime Minister, Surjit Bhalla, has claimed that around 1.5 crore people have got employment and the Government has been able to maintain a good record on this front. On the other hand, the MD of the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Mahesh Vyas, has opposed this data. He claims that Bhalla has used the CMIE data and made his own interpretations. Vyas claims that the total employment is not more than 15 lakh. Now, all eyes are on the data which will be released by the Government soon.
A TEST OF POLARISATION
Byelections on the Kairana Lok Sabha seat will be a political test of polarisation. This is like a litmus test for the BJP vs the joint coalition of other parties. This is quite different from Gorakhpur and Phulpur byelections because the joint Opposition has fielded a Muslim candidate from this seat. It must be noted that this area of Western UP has been sensitive; it was from here that Hindus had fled, and at that time, late MP of BJP, Hukum Singh, had made it a big issue.
This is a Jat-dominated area from where the BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, the daughter of Hukum Singh. In 2014, Hukum Singh had won this seat with a margin of 2.36 lakh votes. He had defeated the SP’s Nahid Hasan. Hukum Singh had got 5.65 lakh votes and Nahid Hasan had got 3.29 lakh votes. The BSP’s Kanwar Hasan had got 1.6 lakh votes and the RLD’s Kartar Bhadana had got only 42,000 votes. That means Hukum Singh had got more votes than the SP, BSP, and RLD combined.
This is being said that in 2014, the votes were divided between two Muslim candidates. But if we add their votes and the votes of the RLD as well, Hukum Singh was far ahead. In this scenario, it can’t be understood why the SP’s Tabassum Hasan is fighting on the RLD ticket, which was on number 4 in the last elections. Possibly, the ticket has been given for Jat votes. If polarisation happens on this seat, then the joint candidate of the Opposition will not get even that many votes it had got in the last elections jointly.
However, it seems that leaders of the SP, BSP, and RLD are confident of bagging Jat votes. The RLD’s Ajit Singh is of the view that Jats are no more attracted to the BJP and have drifted towards the RLD after defeating the party in the last Lok Sabha Elections. The RLD is the representative party of the Jats in UP; in the same manner, the SP is for the Yadavs and the BSP is for the Dalits. So, this byelection is the test of all three parties whether they can get the votes of Jats, Dalits, and Yadavs. If they can divide the Hindu votes for Muslim votes, then it is almost certain that the next Lok Sabha Elections will be challenging for the BJP.
NEW CONG PRESIDENTS
Congress President Rahul Gandhi might soon appoint new party presidents in four States. Recently, he had appointed presidents in four States, including Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Goa. Soon after the Karnataka elections, presidents will be appointed in four more States. The party is being run by caretaker presidents in two of these States. In Bihar and Kerala, executive presidents have been looking after the party work for the past many months. Now, full-time presidents will be appointed there.
Sources say that new presidents for UP, Bihar, Kerala, and Haryana might be announced any time. This is almost certain that a Brahmin president will be appointed in UP. The Congress has sensed that Brahmins are not happy with the BJP, so the party will make a move accordingly. Jitin Prasada is the most likely choice. Apart from him, Rajesh Pati Tripathi, Rajesh Mishra, and Pramod Tiwari are also in the race. Any of these will be appointed as the State president in place of Raj Babbar. This is also being said that there might be three or four executive presidents, who will be responsible for different zones.
In Bihar, the Congress has sent old Bhumihar leader Akhilesh Singh to the Rajya Sabha and Prem Chandra Mishra has been made an MLC. So, now the party might appoint a State president either from the OBC or EBC. The present executive president, Kaukab Quadri, could also be made the full-time president; Akhilesh Singh is also in his favour.
Deepender Singh Hooda, the son of former CM, BS Hooda, could be given the responsibility of Haryana. However, many people want senior Hooda to be given the command because he takes people together. Apart from the father-son duo, Selja Kumari is also in the race. The Congress is trying to balance the equation of Dalits and Jats in the State.
In Kerala, MM Hassan is working as the executive president, and either Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala, or Sudheeran can be given the party reins. In Kerala, Rahul will certainly give priority to AK Antony’s choice.
TEAM RAHUL IN STATES
Almost five months have passed since Rahul has taken command of the party, and two months since the Congress ratified his name in the plenary session, but the party president has not made any significant change in the organisation. On an average, he is making appointments every second day. It is being said that as per strategy, Rahul is not making appointments in bulk.
Rahul has handed over the command of the States to his chosen leaders gradually. Barring one or two, in almost all States, Rahul has appointed leaders from the youth brigade either as presidents or in-charges. He had started forming his own team almost three years ago, and had appointed Sachin Pilot as the president of the Rajasthan Congress, followed by Ajay Maken’s appointment as the Delhi Congress president. Now, he has appointed Amit Chavda as the Gujarat party president. Chavda has been given a promotion amongst almost a dozen senior leaders. In the same manner, almost everyone was taken aback when Rahul appointed Ajoy Kumar as the party president of Jharkhand.
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