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HP Polls: In Zinta’s College, Young Voters Want More Jobs, Edu Courses

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By: Urvashi Khona | Shimla
Updated: November 10, 2022 16:30
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In the month-long high-decibel political campaigns, an important segment of Himachal Pradesh that hardly finds any mention in rallies and speeches of leaders is its large young population.

In capital Shimla, there is a sense of restlessness, unease and worry among young Himachalis who will be casting the first vote of their life on November 12.

“I don’t think many people out there give priority to students. I am looking forward to a leader who prioritizes education in Himachal Pradesh,” says a first-time voter.

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Though many hail the Jairam Thakur government for the massive development he brought to the state, some say a lot has to be done in the field of higher education and unemployment in the hill state.

In Shimla’s famous St. Bede’s College, the alma mater of some of India’s top celebrities – from actor Preity Zinta and veteran journalist Tavleen Singh to Bollywood diva Rubina Dilaik, students say they want to change the government in Himachal Pradesh.

Speaking to The New Indian, a student of political science says, “I feel change is very important in politics. I will vote for a leader who offers me more career-related options and delivers too.”

“I want our leaders to make new policies for education and jobs. We need more educational institutes that offer advanced courses. Unemployment is a major issue in Himachal,” she says.

The issue of migration out of Himachal Pradesh inadvertently comes up during the conversation. Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its rival Congress have promised to take measures to keep the talent in the state. But the youth feel it is not enough.

“Majority of the youth is moving out of the state because we don’t have that many (employment) opportunities and good colleges for higher studies,” says another student.

In its manifesto, the ruling BJP has promised to give jobs to 8 lakh youngsters and launch a ₹900 start-up scheme for job creation if it returns to power in a state which has a tradition of not repeating governments. Its rival Congress has promised to provide 5 lakh jobs, a ₹680-crore startup fund, and four English-medium schools in every constituency.

However, many young voters believe political parties make promises during elections but do not fulfil them once they are in power. “We don’t want phoney promises. We don’t want free electricity. We want well-thought-out schemes that are feasible because we know nothing is free,” says a student of commerce.

“PM Narendra Modi has done a great job. But in Himachal Pradesh. We want a government that gives equal priority to students as well,” she adds.

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