Assam Polls: With Jobs in Mind, Assam’s First-Time Voters Take Centre stage
GUWAHATI: With the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and unemployment being central issues for Assam in the elections this time, political parties appeared to be counting on some 12 lakh first-time voters in the state who they believed can play a crucial role.
While both the ruling BJP and the grand alliance led by Congress have promised lakhs of government jobs if come to power, for the first time voters, it would be their chance to assert their opinions through their votes.
As per the election department, a total of 12, 81,918 electors have newly enrolled in this state assembly polls starting from March 27.
Speaking to TIME8, Aziz, a student studying ITI in Nalbari is apprehensive about the rise of “corporate politics” in the state. “A political party that is clear about its ideology can be trusted since they have a clear manifesto. But the future and intensions of a corporate-backed body can be uncertain,” he said.
“In the past 20 years, two parties have formed government in our state, but none have been able to address the real issues and plight of the people in the state. Though this time new regional parties have been formed I doubt in the long run they will also turn out as the current or past governments,” he added.
On asking a student of mass communication and journalism about his expectation from the government, he said, “I want the major issues in the state to be solved – like flood, unemployment, illegal immigration and many others. Parties promise many things during their campaigns but once they come to power those promises are long forgotten.”
In some cases, many have expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling party and do not want it to continue. Whereas, many of the first-time voters though seemed excited were undecided.
Some of them, however, cited a range of issues including fuel price hikes, demonetization, CAA and the development of government educational institutions on rejecting the ruling government. They also raised the issue of ‘scams’ like the Assam Police recruitment exam scam, minority scholarship scam and others.
Pranab Lahkar, a state BJP executive said, “Though less in numbers, young voters will play a vital role in this election. The BJP government’s multiple schemes of self-employment, skill development, start-up projects, besides its firm stand against corruption, have been attracting youth. While opposition parties are campaigning with promises of more government jobs, we are offering opportunities where the youth themselves can be the job providers. Today’s youth need development and vision first.”
Congress in its poll manifesto while guaranteed to bring a law against CAA, assured of providing at least one lakh government jobs annually if comes to power.
Going one step ahead, senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma promised one lakh government job within March 2022 if BJP retains power. He also promised schemes for giving two-wheelers to the educated youths of the state.
Assembly elections in Assam would be held in three phases-March27, April1 and April6.