Leaders of the Grand Alliance in Bihar, addressing a press conference ahead of the State Assembly elections, in Patna on October 17, 2020.
Leaders of the Grand Alliance in Bihar, addressing a press conference ahead of the State Assembly elections, in Patna on October 17, 2020.IANS

Eyeing rural voters, Grand Alliance woos farmers, youths

Patna, October 17, 2020

With nearly 90 per cent of the Bihar population living in villages, the Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan sought to woo youths, farmers, and labourers through its joint poll manifesto or 'Sankalp Patra' released here on Saturday.

Tejashwi Yadav, the chief ministerial face of the Grand Alliance, said that the manifesto promised to usher in change in Bihar.

The Mahagathbandhan sought to address the issues related to farmers and labourers, given the fact that the state has a rural-based economy with 89 per cent people living in villages and 76 per cent of them directly dependent on the agriculture sector.

Hence, loan waiver for farmers was one of the key points in this manifesto. The leaders of Mahagathbandhan know that 18 to 20 districts are affected by flood every year and repayments of loans is not easy for affected farmers. Attracting the farmers through loan waiver promise could be a game changer for the Mahagathbandhan.

The manifesto also sought to address labourers' issues through guaranteed employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme. Moreover, it also promised to create jobs as per MGNREGA scheme.

Tejashwi pointed out that the MGNREGA schemes with added benefits would be drawn to prevent labour migration from Bihar. "If a labourer gets paid extra in his own state, why will he go elsewhere?" he remarked.

The Grand Alliance also targets the unemployed youths and students. "As unemployment is the major problem in the state, providing jobs will be our main priority if we come to power. We have already announced to give 10 lakh government jobs to the youths of Bihar. Besides, we have decided to waive recruitment fee of every competitive examinations. It will allow students to appear in maximum number of examinations. Under the NDA rule, different caste categories have different fee structures," the RJD leader said.

He said that students with admit cards will be allowed to travel free of cost from district headquarters to examination centres.

Shalini Sharma, a BA Second-Year student of Magadh Mahila College, said: "The issues of students are well addressed in this manifesto, but I doubt they will implement these after the formation of government."

Her friend Rita Bajaj said: "We used to fill up over 10 examination forms and spend over Rs 6,000. It is not easy for a middle-class family to afford this amount. The promise sounds good but the question mark is on its implementation."

The manifesto also touched the issues of working-class people, especially those employed on contract basis in different government departments. Tejashwi pointed out that contract system in government departments will be abolished.

"It is a step to stop privatisation in government sectors. Under the NDA regime, they have privatised the Indian Railway. We as employees do not want this to be implemented in all sectors. Government jobs are always beneficial for the common people than private jobs," said Rajesh Kumar, a contract employee in the Transport Department.

The manifesto also pointed out that casual employees will be made permanent in the same departments.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress state President Madan Mohan Jha, Congress leader Akhilesh Singh, CPI-MLL leader Shashi Yadav, CPI-M leader Arun Sinha, and CPI's Ram Babu Kumar were also present on the occasion.


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