Dhaka, Bangladesh
Will the BJP lose Rajasthan?

Off the track

Will the BJP lose Rajasthan?

Pawan Khera

Will the BJP win in Rajasthan is like asking whether Narendra Modi will become the U.S. President. The reason for the imminent defeat of the BJP in Rajasthan cannot be attributed to a “normal trend” or “Rajasthan is a see-saw State” kind of arguments. First, let’s look at candidates. The BJP could not change the number of candidates as its central leadership would have wanted, owing to a battle between Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP president Amit Shah. Mr. Shah wanted to change at least 100 sitting MLAs; Ms. Raje allowed only 45 changes. Next, governance. Ms. Raje’s government has been corrupt, non-performing and insensitive for the past five years. This government brought back memories of her previous tenure as Chief Minister (2003-2008). The mining scam, where over 600 mining leases were allotted without following due procedure, resulted in the Rajya Sabha being adjourned many times and brought shame to the State. Further, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the unemployment figure in Rajasthan (13.7%) in October is more than twice the national figure (6.6%). Ms. Raje came to power promising 15 lakh jobs. She later changed “job” to “employment” and “employment” to “employment opportunities”. She proudly claimed that instead of 15 lakh jobs, her government had provided 44 lakh jobs. Her own Minister of Labour and Employment said in December last year that the the total number of jobs provided by her government stood at 2.17 lakh. A Comptroller and Auditor General report exposes her claims on employment. The Rajasthan Skill and Livelihood Development Corporation, the premier agency for skill training, could only achieve 48.90% of its target between 2014 and 2017. Placement data stands at a meagre 35.58%. An example of the gravity of unemployment in the State can be seen from the fact that for the 18 posts advertised for peons in 2017 by the Rajasthan Assembly, among 13,000 applicants, 129 were engineers, 23 were lawyers, one was a chartered accountant and 393 were postgraduates. Farmers, daily wage earners, small businesses and traders have borne the brunt of demonetisation and the complicated implementation of the goods and services tax. Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the number of days of employment stands at 50 instead of 150.

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