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Youths to launch ‘BJP-free Rajasthan’ drive from September

The campaign will likely to coincide with chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s ongoing Gaurav Yatra

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Aug 07, 2018 22:47 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News
The Rajasthan Berozgar Ekikrat Mahasangh, fighting against unemployment, began the ‘BJP-mukt Rajasthan Abhiyan’ from the Shekhawati region in July.(HT)

A body of unemployed youths in Rajasthan will launch a movement for “BJP-free Rajasthan” from September 16 with the campaign likely to coincide with chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s ongoing Gaurav Yatra that she has launched to seek people’s mandate in the assembly elections slated for later this year.

The Rajasthan Berozgar Ekikrat Mahasangh (RBEM), an umbrella organization of youth fighting against unemployment, began the ‘BJP-mukt Rajasthan Abhiyan’ from the Shekhawati region in July and has already enrolled 25,000 ‘berozgar vistaraks’ who would also canvass against the ruling party in the upcoming assembly elections.

Berozgar vistarak programme is a spinoff of BJP’s vistarak scheme in which cadres were mandated to work in unfamiliar grounds to strengthen party’s follower base – hence the name, vistarak that means expander.

RBEM state president Upen Yadav, 30, said by mid-September, 100,000 vistaraks will be active and get into the field campaigning against the BJP.

“During Raje’s Suraj Sankalp Yatra in 2013, the youth supported the BJP because she promised 1.5 million jobs and said she will abolish Rajasthan Teachers’ Eligibility Test (RTET). Hiowever, after coming to power, she failed to fulfil any of these”.

Yadav has been the face of various protests by the unemployed youths, getting beaten by police lathis at least on four occasions including twice outside the state BJP office. Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s July 7 visit, Yadav was arrested on July 5 when he went to the BJP office to hold dialogue with the then state BJP president Ashok Parnami. He was in jail until the evening of July 9. The government apprehended that he may lead a protest during PM’s interaction with beneficiaries of central and state welfare schemes.

“In Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts, 15,000 youths have pledged support to the BJP-free campaign. We will soon go to other districts to solicit similar pledge from more youths. Our target is a pledge by 100,000 youths,” said Yadav, who joined BJP in January 2010 after three years of active membership of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP’s ideological fount, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In 2013 and 2014, unemployed youths protested several times, often fasting outside Shiksha Sankul, state education department’s headquarters in Jaipur, and getting beaten by police lathis. Anger of the youths is over Raje’s unfulfilled promise of 1.5 million jobs and over government’s inability to ensure jobs don’t get stuck in courts.

“Most of the court cases are related to questions that were out of syllabus or had wrong choice as answers. We have been demanding that people who set those papers be blacklisted and penalized,” said Yadav.

State BJP president Madan Lal Saini said the government never promised 1.5 million jobs. “We promised 1.5 million job opportunities that we have fulfilled by giving the youth skill development training,” he said.

Saini looked unfazed by the ‘BJP-mukt Rajasthan Abhiyan’ and said Raje enjoys support of all sections of society.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 22:47 IST