Priyanka will write a new script with Rahul
Priyanka’s entry into active politics will provide a big boost for Congress; party confident of her potential
Congress workers as well as the common man are very optimistic over the entry of Priyanka Gandhi into active politics. Everyone has pinned a great hope on her. Many people also see the reflection of Indira Gandhi in her. Notably, she has a deep connection with the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli. People there say that Priyanka Gandhi blends with the common man so normally that sometimes even her security personnel get astounded by their familiarity. Her spontaneity, simplicity and ability endear everyone. I have myself known her for a long time and have realised that she has vision and simplicity. She has country’s best interests in her heart and is worried about the common man’s welfare and wants to make their life happy and comfortable.
That is why she is getting an all-round welcome on her entry into active politics. In July last year, Priyanka Gandhi had personally met all the Congress leaders who were operating different sections of the party. She asked just one question to all such leaders as to what agenda they had for the next 100 days. This question is important in itself. This is the real identity of a leader that she seeks to know the attitude of her colleagues. After these interactions with the leaders, it seemed that Priyanka Gandhi is now ready to enter active politics. Not that she was not in the field earlier. During various elections in Amethi and Rae Bareli, she has remained active behind the scene. The public service runs in her blood and she has been learning the nitty-gritty of politics fast.
There is no doubt that she is the trump card for the Congress in the current situation. The Congress was just waiting for the right time. Under Rahul Gandhi, the party has captured Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in the recent Assembly elections. Congress hopes that in the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi together with Priyanka will be able to script victory for the party.
Priyanka’s entry has disturbed not only the Bharatiya Janata Party but also the other political parties which were indulging in the politics of brinkmanship to marginalise the Congress. The SP and the BSP have already marginalised the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Congress has surprised everyone by saying that it will contest all the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Nevertheless, Rahul Gandhi has shown his generosity by keeping the doors of alliance open for them. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of 80 Lok Sabha seats. The most significant thing is that the Congress president has not only appointed Priyanka Gandhi as general secretary but also entrusted her the responsibility of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, which is the most important area in terms of politics today. The constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath falls in this region. Priyanka has accepted a big challenge. While the BJP feels Priyanka’s entry will weaken SP-BSP combine, Congress believes it will neutralise the BJP. However, the SP and the BSP believe that if Modi is the target of each and every party, the Congress should not contest all the 80 seats as it will harm everyone.
Casteism weighs heavily in UP politics. In Eastern UP, a large population of Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins had been deciding the outcome and direction of elections. When the Congress won 21 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, 13 seats came from this region. Clearly, there are people who support Congress but over the period, they sided with the BJP, SP and BSP. The situation became so bad that in the 2014 LS polls, Congress candidates in 20 of the 33 seats in the region lost their deposit. This clearly means that Priyanka’s task is daunting. But there is no denying the fact that Priyanka’s entry has enthused the Congress workers like never before. Now the Congress is hoping that Priyanka Gandhi’s aura will connect the disjointed sections to the party. The Congress will be able to recover the lost ground. Despite being a national party, Congress has no existence in UP at present. Therefore, a new beginning has to be made and the Congress has done exactly that by bringing in Priyanka. However, who gains from this move remains to be seen.
The confidence of the Congress vis-a-vis 2019 Lok Sabha elections can be gauged from the fact that Rahul Gandhi has clearly said the Congress will now play on the front foot and not the back foot. Certainly Priyanka Gandhi has the ability to play on the front foot. Rahul is already playing on the front foot with full confidence.
And of course, I would definitely like to discuss one more thing which the opposition has been hammering again and again. After Priyanka Gandhi was made general secretary, opposition parties started harping on the dynasty slogan. Right from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi, their ability earned them the love of this country. If there would have been any greed, had Sonia Gandhi declined the post of the Prime Minister? Priyanka Gandhi will also sustain on her own ability. And do the opposition parties not have members of the same family active in politics? Not only India, this has been happening in the US too. The then US president John F Kennedy’s brothers Robert and Ted Kennedy were senators. Some other members of Kennedy family were in politics too. Will two members of the Bush family becoming US president be called dynastic politics? Is the example of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton a case of dynastic politics? Such allegations can only be described as low-level politics, nothing else!
Paramount question is: Where are govt jobs?
Reservation for the general category poor is welcome, but the point is: Why was it thought of only at the time of elections?
The Central government announced a 10 per cent reservation for the general category poor in government jobs in such a hurry that the Opposition parties were left bewildered. I am using the word hurry because right before this announcement, the government had itself stated that there was no proposal under consideration of the government for granting reservations on economic basis. Obviously, the proposal came suddenly and the electoral arithmetic is very obvious.
A demoralised Bharatiya Janata Party which suffered severe electoral drubbings in the three states took such a step so that it would gain electoral benefit in Lok Sabha elections.
Objectively, this is a good step. Efforts should be made to bring the people of any caste or religion to the mainstream. No poor person can be deprived on the basis of which caste he is born in. An attempt was made to grant reservations on economic criteria even when Narasimha Rao of Congress was the prime minister, but the Supreme Court did not consider that basis to be valid. The BJP government has amended the Constitution to avoid this situation. Most parties, including Congress supported the Central government in this matter because all parties wanted such a change. Only a couple of parties protested the move.At present, the BJP seems to feel euphoric at what it considers to be its masterstroke believing that it will reap electoral dividends in the Lok Sabha elections.
But the big question is that even if the provision of reservation has been made, where are the government jobs?
There is mismatch between employment generation and the workforce. Let alone the government, even the private sector is not able to generate jobs for the number of educated youths being churned out by our universities. You can predict the worrisome situation of unemployment in the country from the fact that recently the railways advertised one lakh jobs after 30 years. These jobs were for track men, porters and electricians. Just hold your breath, a whopping 2.30 crore people applied for these posts. Mumbai Police was to recruit 1,137 policemen for which more than two lakh people applied. Among the applicants were many well educated youths. Similarly, mote than two crore people applied for the 368 clerical posts in the Uttar Pradesh secretariat. Just consider the data of the Staff Selection Commission; it invited applications for 40,000 different posts in 2016-17 and received 3.37 crore applications. Before that, it had received 1.48 crore applications for 25,138 posts in 2015-16.
These are intimidating figures which raise the legitimate question that when unemployment is increasing at such a fast pace, why is proportionate employment not being generated?
When jobs do not exist then what is the use of reservation system? The government should be asked how many jobs it has created to benefit the reserved categories. BJP had promised the moon to the youth of this country during the last election under the leadership of Narendra Modi. He had talked about providing jobs to two crore youths but he could not fulfil his promise. Nobody is able to tell as to how many young people got jobs.
The latest figures of the labour bureau are not available. But according to the data available, the rate of unemployment in the country has reached the highest level of five years during the year 2015-16. A report also came in which it was said that on an average more than 500 jobs are disappearing every day. It is feared that 70 lakh jobs out of the existing jobs will disappear completely by the year 2050. There are many reasons for this worrisome phenomenon.
The biggest reason is the rapid change in technology. But then the government should make plans to deal with this situation which does not seem to be happening.
Now leave aside jobs, let’s talk about employment only and the scenario looks frightening. Earlier, the agriculture sector employed about 60 per cent of the people, but this figure is now less than 50 per cent. Young people are migrating to cities in search of employment. Employment situation in cities is also not very good. It is believed that the construction sector generates the highest employment. But after the note ban, this sector has been the most affected and the employment opportunities have reduced.
The youth of the country understands the entire situation. He sees his trust betrayed. He knows that the announcement of reservation is redundant because when jobs are not there, what will be the benefit of reservation?
He knows that these are election gimmicks. The youth of this country is dreaming of the day when there would be so many opportunities available for employment that he would not need reservation. But there is no hope for this at the moment. For political parties, it has become more important to win elections somehow and stay in power at the cost of the nation.