Child welfare not an issue for 80 percent candidates: NGO

May 13th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) A survey conducted by child rights organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan Wednesday said around 80 percent candidates contesting elections this Lok Sabha polls do not have child welfare or Right to Education on their priority list.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan carried out the survey after scanning the campaign speeches of 476 candidates.

“Of the 476 candidates that we tracked in 175 constituencies across the country, only 49 mentioned that elimination of child labour will be one of their priorities. More than 80 percent candidates did not have child rights issues on their agenda,” Bachpan Bachao Andolan chairperson Kailash Satyarthi told IANS.

“What was even worse was that just 35 candidates of the ones we tracked advocated strongly in favour of the right to education in their constituency. This when the Right to Education bill is yet to be passed in the Parliament,” he added.

The survey was carried out in 18 states and six union territories. Candidates in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh showed the least interest in children’s issues, the study said.

“We found that of the major political parties, 19 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates took up the issue of child labour elimination and other child welfare issues in their agenda. Ensuring primary education formed the key agenda for 16 Congress candidates.

“Candidates from the Left parties, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party fared the worst with respect to child rights and education issues,” Satyarthi said.

A silver lining on this dismal scenario, according to BBA, was Samajwadi Party’s Ravi Prakash Verma who is contesting from Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. On his campaign plank was development, especially free and compulsory education for all.

“Children are still out of our politicians’ radar. It is shameful that all the parties are only concerned about mudslinging at their opponents, driving the religion and caste divides deeper and not holding the child, education and development plank,” Satyarthi said.

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