Youth and job hopes at centre of AAP campaign in Punjab | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Youth and job hopes at centre of AAP campaign in Punjab

punjab Updated: Jan 10, 2017 20:05 IST
Arvind Chhabra
Arvind Kejriwal

Manish Sisodia, deputy CM Delhi addressing an election rally for Punjab polls, at Belongi in Mohali on Tuesday.(Anil Dayal/HT Photo)

It was the first time Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia came to campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the Punjab elections, but the venue at Balongi in SAS Nagar segment wasn’t quite teeming with crowds. Yet, one thing was as evident as ever: AAP is centering its campaign around the youth.

The rally revolved around education, jobs, drugs and sports. “The Badals are spreading chitta (‘white’ powder, denoting smack and heroin) and joblessness. Arvind Kejriwal will spread education and jobs!” said Sisodia, who also told people to vote with the assumption that Kejriwal will be Punjab chief minister if the AAP wins.

He too claimed that the AAP’s focus on the youth is why “Delhi is doing well in sports ever since AAP has come to power”. “See the ongoing national games, in which Delhi is beating all other states,” he said.

And this is how he introduced the local candidate, Narinder Singh Shergill, to the audience: “He’s been a student of economics at Panjab University. Vote him in and he will spoil the economics of the Badals!”

Many of the younger persons in the crowd said they are banking on the AAP to give them jobs apart from bring in freshness to governance.

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“I am an electrical engineer, and jobless,” said Parminder Singh (30) of Jagatpura town here, “Being the only son, I can’t go out to Bangalore or other places. But there are no jobs in Punjab as factories have moved out in recent years. I’m sure the AAP won’t disappoint us.” He added there are many educated youngsters like him who have nowhere to go.

“Educated youngsters are forced to take up menial jobs leading to frustration. We are also seeking a change from the governance of the Badals and the Amarinders,” said Baljinder Singh (28), a science graduate and local resident.

But where’s the guarantee that a new government will deliver jobs? “For them to deliver, they need a chance first,” said another local resident, Harvinder Singh (32). “People are taking up Rs 8,000-a-month jobs and then even being sacked at the whims of owners.”

Over half of the 1 crore voters are below the age of 39 this time.

However, the party isn’t just targeting the youth. In a corner of the rally, there was a counter where people could register themselves in any of the six categories, such as farmer loan waiver, and old-age and widow pensions. In return, they were given a ‘promissory note’ signed by Kejriwal.