With elections barely 11 days away, state Congress on Friday launched its ambitious ‘berozgari Bhatta (unemployment allowance) Cards’ aimed at wooing the unemployed youngsters in Uttarakhand.
Within a few hours of the launch, the state election machinery issued a notice to the state Congress for going ahead with its move without due permission.
An initiative under the party’s election programme for the youth ‘Har Sang Harda’ (Harish Rawat is with everyone), it promises to provide one job per household to all young people between 18 to 35 years of age by 2020 if Congress returns to power in the state.
However, within hours of launch, the state election body - which had recently denied permission to Congress for distributing such cards - sprang into action. “We have issued a notice to the Congress to stop distributing the cards till further orders and submit a plea on how they went ahead with launching the cards even after being denied permission for the same,” additional chief electoral officer of Uttarakhand, V Shanmugam told HT.
State Congress chief Upadhyay said that the party doesn’t feel that introducing such cards was a violation of any rule. “We will never do anything that goes against the rules...we feel that the election officials should reconsider this matter because promising jobs is not any enticement, but a part of our poll promises,” he told HT.
A member of the Congress campaign team claimed that providing unemployment allowance was one of the nine ‘Rawat Ke Sankalp’ (Rawat’s promises) which were approved by the election body. “How can this be a violation then?” he questioned.
Till such an employment is given, they will be provided with skill training and an unemployment allowance of R 2,500 per month for a period of up to three years through the cards, state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay said while launching the card along with party’s senior leader Kumari Selja.
Providing allowance to unemployed youth was one of the promises of the Congress prior to the 2012 elections also, which it did introduce after it came to power, but it was discontinued later.
As per sources, around three lakh such cards have been printed for distribution in the state so far. Around 12.84 lakh unemployed youth are registered with the employment exchanges.
Congress launches election control room
The Congress launched its election control room located at the state headquarters in a bid to streamline its ongoing poll-related activities in different parts of the state. “This will be a one-stop center for managing all election-related activities and resolving any problems being faced by any candidate or team members in any part of the state,” state Congress general secretary, Naveen Joshi, who is in charge of the control room, told HT.