Where are your job plans, youth ask politicians

May 3rd, 2009 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook By Anuradha Shukla
New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) All political parties are swearing by youth power in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. But youth feel politicians are ignoring the basic issue that concerns them in this age of economic meltdown: job losses.

“All these campaigns like on Orkut, Facebook and web advertising are very superficial. They fail to address the larger issues like education and employment,” says Ankita Rastogi, 20-year-old student of advertising, based in Delhi.

“Tell me how many parties are talking about job creation and job losses? And they feel we are fools enough to be impressed by their social networking.”

Amreen Khurana, a 19-year-old student of Delhi University, told IANS: “No political party is paying enough attention to our issues, especially employment.

“Post-recession, we expected the parties to come out with policies that will safeguard our livelihood but they have done nothing. Recession is eating our jobs and we are suffering. They are not.”

The Congress has been talking a lot about attracting young people to the party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and is making the Youth Congress a platform to promote its flagship programmes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

According to Ashok Tanwar, president of the Indian Youth Congress: “We have the maximum number of young politicians who represent youth today. So it is the Congress that can well represent the issues and concerns of youth.”

However the young voters are not impressed. They point out that the Congress campaign has no specific focus on youth-related issues, that the party is continuing with its theme of ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), rural development and overall economic development.

“The political parties are still very alienated from real youth issues and even the new generation of young politicians has not helped. They are just reiterating the old issues,” said Aman Sarin, a 21-year-old management student in Delhi.

“I am not bothered about the ‘Swiss bank accounts’ or the Ram Mandir (two major issues raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, during the campaign). My concern is whether I will get a job or not. It is giving me sleepless nights. But I have not heard a single politician talking about it, be it BJP or Congress,” Sarin told IANS.

BJP campaign strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni said: “It is not that we are not talking about youth. Employment is very much part of our party agenda. Also Advani@campus was targeted at youth only.

The Advani@Campus initiative was aimed at building a grassroots volunteer campaign to contact and mobilise young voters in about 5,000 college campuses across the country.

“The programme is a huge success as the party has been able to connect with all the campuses and successfully impart the party ideology and agenda to youth. It is apparent from the number of responses that Advaniji received on his website,” Kulkarni said.

“However, there are other important issues as well,” he conceded.

Apurv Swarup, a 22-year-old executive working with Ernst and Young, was not impressed.

“Certainly there are other grave issues that need to be dealt with, such as poverty, healthcare and education. The politicians have, however, shown callousness towards those issues as well.

“My vote is definitely dependent on which political party promises youth better opportunities,” he added.

(Anuradha Shukla can be contacted at anuradha.s@ians.in)

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