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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Unemployment key issue for Assam's first-time voters

Unemployment is the primary concern for Assam's first-time voters in addition to other national and state issues including inflation, GDP, infrastructure development, foreigners' problem, and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 07:14 IST
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 07:14 IST

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Guwahati/Jorhat: Unemployment is the primary concern for Assam's first-time voters in addition to other national and state issues including inflation, GDP, infrastructure development, foreigners' problem, and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Talking to PTI, youths flagged a host of issues from local college and university matters to broader national concerns, emphasising their intention to vote based on candidates' manifestos.

"We have seen that the ruling parties are carrying out development works. But I want to say that development is an ongoing process and it should continue forever. I believe that the most important issue is the foreigners problem," said Arunav Dutta, the general secretary of Jagannath Barooah College Students' Union.

The related issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 is also very important nowadays and first-time voters are aware of the "consequences" of this law, he added.

"Moreover, the unemployment issue is very important for us. Price rise of various essential items including medicines is also affecting society. As a student community member, we will weigh these issues before going to vote," Dutta said.

Barbie Gogoi of Devi Charan Baruah Girls' College, a premier women's college in Upper Assam, considered the present high rate of unemployment to be the most pressing issue for her.

"When we apply for a job, we see lakhs of unemployed youths lining up. We need more jobs. We will see how much the candidates are giving importance to employment opportunities -- this will be our main focus," she added.

Stating that she and her friends will closely analyse the candidates' solutions for job generation, Gogoi said unemployment is an old problem and it is still continuing.

"We will vote on this point. Price rise is huge nowadays, so a job is necessary. We are studying to get a good job," the sixth semester graduation student of economics said.

JB University's Tanmoy Bharadwaj, a first-time voter, intends to assess road constructions, stadium development, GDP growth, and improvements in the Human Resource index before going out to vote.

"It is also important to see the manifesto and know about a party's promises for the next five years. Then we will make a decision accordingly. We will not vote only in the name of the party. We have to make a wise decision and give our votes to the most deserving candidate.

"Nobody is doing politics of ideology, which is dead already. While left wing parties support capitalism, the right wing does something that is unacceptable to us," said the sociology student of BA fourth semester.

Bharadwaj highlighted that although JB College has been recently designated for upgrade to a university, essential infrastructure such as proper buildings, smart classrooms, and playgrounds is currently lacking.

"We are considering local university problems as well as larger macro issues because we are a part of society. If we don't think about our society, state and country, our next generation will laugh at us that we did not send a good MP in 2024 despite getting the chance," he stressed.

Cotton University's Manash Barman said one of the major issues in Assam is CAA, which violates the Assam Accord.

"According to the accord, we cannot accept any foreigners coming after 1971 and we don't want any insult to the Accord. We also want ILP so that local and indigenous people get protection," he added.

Barman said employment opportunities are important for them and wondered if Assamese youths have the required skills to get a job in the recently announced mega investment project by the Tata Group, aimed at establishing a semiconductor plant in the state.

"We want the voice of Assam to be heard in Parliament. We want someone to go and talk about Assam so that the Centre further expedites development works in the state. We cannot say who will win from Assam, but an interesting fight will take place," he added.

Plabita Saikia from DCB Girls College expressed her intention to consider issues affecting the student community, such as inadequate emphasis on skill development within the course syllabus.

"We will see if there is anything new and uncommon in the manifestos. We will see the candidates' response to the recent issue of CAA and also their role in the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be my first vote and I am very excited," she added.

Sagarika Teron of Handique Girls' College said the education sector should be upgraded so that youths get jobs.

"There should be more focus on skill development and extra-curricular activities should be added. I will vote considering all these points. Youths are getting some jobs, but we need a lot more. Entrepreneurship should also be more so that jobs can be generated," she added.

Voting for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam will take place across 28,645 polling stations in three phases on April 19, 26, and May 7. Counting is scheduled for June 4, following the conclusion of the nationwide seven-phase elections.

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Published 19 April 2024, 07:14 IST

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