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Practicality of AAP electoral promise of quota in private jobs questioned

A file photo of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Aam Aadmi Party’s electoral promise of quota for locals in private jobs in States has sparked reactions with political parties, scholars and activists questioning the practicality of tickling the nativist sentiments of the electorate. Some described it as “competitive chauvinism” while others dubbed it a “vote-catching phrase” that has not been thought through.

On Sunday, Rashtriya Lok Dal president Jayant Chaudhary commented on AAP’s promise of an 80% quota to locals in private jobs in Goa. “Can no one see the slippery slope we are setting up? If every State were to enact similar legislation, what would happen to internal migrations that create efficient labour markets? How will industry compete?” he tweeted.

The AAP, working on spreading its footprints outside Delhi, has made similar promises in Punjab and Uttarakhand as well, touching an emotional chord.

Last week, its national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made a promise in Haldwani that the party would provide 80% reservation for Uttarakhand residents in the jobs.

In the past, Mr. Kejriwal had made a similar promise in Punjab.

At a mahapanchayat in Meerut earlier this year, he had said all 23 major crops could be bought at the Minimum Support Price. Recently, senior leader Manish Sisodia promised 300 units of free electricity in Uttar Pradesh, if voted to power.

Outreach may affect RLD

With an eye on the districts of western Uttar Pradesh that share boundaries with Delhi, observers say, the AAP’s outreach with jobs and free electricity up to 300 units, is going to directly affect the RLD.

AAP’s Rajya Sabha member and UP in-charge Sanjay Singh had meetings with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav but it didn’t result in an alliance or a seat-sharing arrangement.

The AAP is not alone in raising the son of the soil pitch. The Shiromani Akali Das promised that it would provide 75% quota to locals in private jobs.

To fulfil the promise made by its partner Jannanayak Janta Party, the BJP-led government in Haryana passed the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidate Bill 2020, providing 75% reservation in private sector jobs for the residents. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also made a similar promise in 2020.

The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority had in March issued a circular mandating more than 40% jobs to locals in industries in the area under it. While the local leaders described it as the fulfilment of a long-standing demand, the MNCs said it would make the task of finding the ‘right’ candidates for jobs difficult.

A vote-catching phrase

Anoop Nautiyal, founder of the Dehradun-based Social Development For Communities Foundation, said such promises had also been made in the past but could not be practically implemented.

“Unemployment is a reality in Uttarakhand but it is also true that Uttarakhand trains high quality hospitality professionals who work in many States including Goa. It seems like a vote-catching phrase in the election season, but the electorate is wiser these days,” said Mr. Nautiyal.

Describing it as “competitive chauvinism”, professor of Political Science in Aligarh Muslim University Mirza Asmar Beg said the AAP emerged as a party that raised real life issues “but making such promises indicate that it is also indulging in triggering emotive subjects by sugarcoating them as real issues”. Perhaps, he said, it was the compulsion of the politics of the States where it was aiming to spread and could work well in the post-COVID scenario when unemployment was a major issue. But if taken seriously, it would lead to unnecessary “animosity among States.”


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 1:20:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/practicality-of-aap-electoral-promise-of-quota-in-private-jobs-questioned/article36682013.ece

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