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Bihar verdict: A win of self-respect of Bihar, Nitish Kumar says

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Patna: After vanquishing the BJP allies in Bihar polls, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav seemed elated over the stunning victory. Nitish said the people of Bihar have shown faith in Grand Alliance and rejected all the surveys which showed a ‘neck to neck’ fight.

“This is a win for the Bihari pride and Bihari’s self-respect. This is the win of Bihari emotions and Bihari people,” the Bihar CM-elect said.

Here is what Nitish Kumar said at the joint press conference held at his residence, shortly after Lalu addressed the media:

Nitish thanked the people of the state for the decisive verdict, assuring them that his government would like to be true to their promises and work for the welfare of people.

We knew we will win with astounding majority and people have given a decisive mandate as against the speculation of tight fight.

“We would work without any ill will and want a tolerant society. The people have rejected polarisation and have made up their mind in choosing us after a due consideration.

“We will work with a shared agenda for Bihar and remain united…This is a win of people and grand alliance. We never had any issues since the inception of the Grand Alliance,” he said.

We thank all the leaders including Modi Ji, Kejriwal Ji, Mamata Ji and all the other people who tweeted and congratulated.

“We expect Centre’s help and will have a positive frame of mind for the development of Bihar and India,” he added.

Our alliance will show that same unity in working for Bihar as was shown during the election.

This shows that people wanted an empowered and stable Opposition and this poll will have a national impact. The whole nation was watching the elections and people are happy over the Bihar verdict, he said.

“We will keep a positive frame of mind and work for the betterment of Bihar,” Nitish said, adding that, “We won’t harbour any bad faith for anyone during next five years. We will work with all of them and for all of them.”

This win affirms Bihar’s faith in the development of Bihar and gives us a hope.

Nitish said that this mandate was for ‘unity’ and “we vow to work according to the mandate,” adding that the people of Bihar had made their mind who to vote for.

He said it was a verdict against the ‘negative campaign’ and the situation that was being ‘created’ by some people. Bihar rejected all those speculations and designs.

People voted from all sections of society, from Dalits, women, upper and lower castes and all the religion, Nitish added.

RJD chief Lalu Yadav later addressed the press conference and lauded the people of Bihar for shunning “divisive politics.”

“Modi is busy campaigning for the Sangh. He thought it was Haryana. Biharis are not simpletons, and they know how to give a fitting reply to cunning people. They have rejected BJP and Modi, Lalu said.

We never though that we will have less than 190 seats. This mandate, as I spoke in all the meetings, means Nitish Kumar will be the CM, Lalu remarked.

“We thank the great people of Bihar, especially the backward, minority, Dalit and poor from the upper caste people,” said Lalu.

Next Story

Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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VOA
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)