DEHRADUN: The shadow of the internal rift in the ruling party, that was thrown open to all when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) changed three Chief Ministers in one year, appears to be looming large on the upcoming elections in Uttarakhand. The people of the state are unhappy that the government was so busy fighting within itself that no attention was paid to development in the state.
Mood from the ground indicates disgruntlement among the electorate that seems to be of the view that the government needs to focus on creating more employment opportunities in the state for the youth.
Abdul Rahman, a local resident of Dehradun pointed out that the roads are narrow and in bad shape here. According to him, as against earlier when parking was not allowed along the streets and people were issued challan for violation, BJP allowed parking in allotted spaces after giving the roads a superficial facelift under the smart city project after it came to power, thus narrowing them further.
“No one talks about inflation, unemployment and education as the terrain is different. We want good schools here on the lines of what the AAP government did for Delhi. The standard of government school needs to be improved,” Rehman said on issues that concern the voters of this hill state.
Rehman said that people want a government that works for development. “Instead of releasing a manifesto in every election, the government should give their report card instead,” he said.
Khusnoo Dutt, another resident of Dehradun opined that the development in last five years has not been much. “The previous government carried out much better work. We want to see a change in the government. The issues of inflation, unemployment and development will dominate the elections,” Dutt said.
The skyrocketing price of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinder should be brought down as it has impacted the budget of families, he demanded.
Rohit Verma, also echoed his concern and said that the political parties talk big during elections but the reality holds different. “The traffic of Dehradun has gone from from bad to worse. Instead of improving the governance, the government attention is more on changing their chief minister. How do we know who to take seriously? How do we trust that what Pushkar Singh Dhami says will hold good tomorrow? For all you know he might also be changed. The BJP must make its stand clear on their CM,” he said.
On AAP making its debut here, Verma said that both Congress and BJP have a solid base in the state and it may not be easy for a new party to break in.
“Here both the parties focus more on pulling each other’s leg than connecting with the voters. We have not seen our MLA in last five years, and now we get to see him posters, when his candidature is once again announced,” Verma lamented.
Highlighting the issue of unemployment, Verma said that the students who were preparing for jobs from the age of 21 have turned 26 today. “There has been no vacancy in last five years. So they lost five years straight. They were unable to compete and get a job,” he added.
Wasim Zaidi, who own the Chai Studio shop at upscale Rajpur road here said the voting should be done on the name of development instead of religion or caste lines.
Zaidi said that he has lived in Delhi for over 10 years and has seen the development in the national capital whether it was in transport, infrastructure. Delhi has chain of five star hotel. But in Dehradun there is only one five star hotel, he said.
“Here even installing a street light is considered a big task. The
street light on the main road was non functional for more than three months. And people could do little about it. In fact, most people have stopped speaking up on the civic issues. The civic apathy is big here. The politicians can sense public indifference, thus they ignore,” he added.
Abhishek, a student, who has been looking for a job in Uttarakhand for last two years said, “Uttarakhand has set an example of three chief ministers in a year. It even made for a question in Kaun Banega Crorepati.”
“I am a student and I am looking for a job in this smart city of Dehradun. But with the degree I hold, I am only offered Rs 10,000, which shows that you cannot even afford to meet the expenses of your family,” he said.
He also expressed his unhappiness over the road conditions and poor civic management. “The traffic situation is worse. And you don’t get any transport after 7 pm. If this is the condition of state capital Dehradun then you can well imagine the condition in other parts of the state,” he said.
Criticising the BJP for turning a blind eye on development, he said, “They focused on temples only. Now they have made good roads towards Kedranath and Badrinath. They have not worked for students and education.”
Vinay, another student also echoed Abhishek’s thoughts and said that as students the aspiration is to get good jobs. The Covid pandemic has made matters worse as people are mostly under lockdown.
“So problem that we face is that the college studies are no longer competent enough to prepare us to face the issues in the real world. As classes are being conducted online, the standard of education is not at par. To cope up with such challenges, there should be freelance training so that youths can discuss how to compete and get good jobs,” Vinay said.
He said that most youth between the age group of 21 to 25 don’t care about religion. “What they want is that their requirement should be fulfilled. Whether it is Hindu or Muslim or any other religion, it doesn’t effect us,” he said.
Amadhav, another student also said that as students they need jobs. “We have very less job opportunities as compared to other states. It will be very beneficial for the students if we are provided more jobs not only during elections. It is after a gap of over six or seven years that 700 posts for JEE’s have been announced. I think it will be beneficial for students and aspirants to have more JEEs, more hospitals and much development,” he said.
He also pointed out that tourism is the main stay of economy in the state and the sector has suffered big losses in the past pandemic phase. “The government should promote the home-stays, local shops, the startups of the hilly areas so that more tourists come to the state and migration is stopped,” he added.
The polling for 70 member assembly is scheduled on February 14 and counting of votes to take place on March 10.