|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Mulayam's unemployment dole an open election bait
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | June 16, 2006 16:41 IST
While disbursing the first ever unemployment dole to educated unemployed graduates in the state, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday declared that if they voted his party again to power, he would double the monthly unemployment dole from Rs 500 to 1000.
He openly baited the youth at a mega launch ceremony of the unemployment allowance at the sprawling Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow.
Mulayam did not mince words in making an attempt to woo the youth. "We are trying to raise this amount out of resources within this year, but I can assure you that if our party returns to power (after the elections next year), we will positively raise this unemployment allowance to Rs 1000," he told the crowds amidst cheers.
As many as 52,571 unemployed youth received cheques of Rs 1000 (for two months commencing April 2006) at the mega event.
These included 34,084 young men and 18,487 women belonging to six districts -- Sitapur, Unnao, Lakhimpur-Kheri, Hardoi, Rae Bareli and Lucknow, taken up on the inaugural day.
Disbursement in other places would be made through cheques to be delivered directly to the beneficiaries.
As many as 8.8 lakh unemployed graduates and post-graduates were registered with different employment exchanges spread across the country's most populous state until February 28, 2006, the cut-off date for the application.
However, only about 4 lakh persons had so far applied for unemployment allowance.
UP was the first state in the country to give unemployment allowance to all sections of educated unemployed youth, unlike Haryana and Kerala where only those below the poverty line were eligible.
He made it a point to repeatedly remind the audience, "Remember I have kept my word with you, despite refusal by the Manmohan Singh government to share the heavy financial burden of Rs 400 crores."
Without naming United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, he made oblique references to how his government was being targeted at her behest by the Centre.
"Some people at the Centre have been conspiring against my government, but it was because of the unflinching support of the youth of the state that they have not succeeded in their designs," he said amidst cheers.
Apparently, it was a part of Mulayam's strategy that the first recipient of his cheque was none other than a young girl from Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of Sonia. In fact, in the very first round of cheque disbursements, eight beneficiaries were from Rae Bareli.
Interestingly, he also called upon the youth to combat corruption. "If you get to know about any corrupt practice anywhere, make it a point to inform me," he told the crowds.
The call sounded somewhat ironical as two of the chief secretaries appointed by him in the past were removed following intervention of the Supreme Court on account of grave charges of corruption against them.
Lucknow's Ambedkar Maidan -- the venue for the event -- was covered with a 600,000 sq ft tent to accommodate some 53,000 chairs to seat the beneficiaries.
Separate counters were set up for beneficiaries hailing from different towns and each of these was supervised by an officer of the rank of principal secretary.
As many as 54 ministers and 62 officers of the rank of principal secretary and secretary personally manned the 52 counters. Each of these counters was visited by the chief minister, who went around the sprawling area.
"This is an unprecedented and historic step as no state government ever undertook such an exercise," said District Magistrate Ramendra Tripathi, the chief organiser of the mega event.