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Assam: 2 Civil Society Groups Appeal to People to ‘Think Before You Vote’; Back INDIA Bloc

The joint appeal also drew the attention of the people to the worst unemployment situation in Indian in 40 years, with Assam having about 20 lakh unemployed youth.

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New Delhi: Two civil society groups in Assam have jointly appealed to voters in the North-Eastern state to “Think Before You Vote” in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Issuing an appeal to the people of the state, the Bharat Jodo Abhiyan, Assam, and the Axom Nagarik Samaj, have listed 16 issues that people should flag before candidates, such as unemployment, the controversial CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), health, education, Old Pension Scheme or OPS among others, according to a report in The Telegraph.

The two organisations have also come out in support of the Opposition INDIA bloc and have pledged to “Save the Constitution”, as well as democratic values in the country.

The appeal, circulated on behalf of the groups by Paresh Malakar, Deepak Goswami, Sankar Saikia and Santanu Borthakur, says: “Let’s think about it. We have the 2024 general elections ahead of us. Where should a government focus — good governance, public welfare or building temples? Shouldn’t we think about the following (16 issues) when we go to vote? Shouldn’t we cast our votes against these things?”, says The Telegraph report.

Assam will have polling in three phases – on April 19, 26 and May 7. The results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared on June 4.

The state has 14 Lok Sabha seats, nine of which are with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP and three with the Congress.

The joint appeal drew the attention of the people of the state to the worst unemployment situation in 40 years, with Assam having about 20 lakh unemployed youth.

“Assam is also in a similar situation. Government jobs are getting exhausted. The government is trying to show off by advertising for job vacancies on the one hand but also is winding up several departments on the other. Instead of providing 1,00,000 jobs every year, the government has provided jobs to only 1,44,227 people from 2014 to 2024. The number of unemployed youths in the state is now more than 20 lakhs,” said the joint appeal.

On health, the appeal points out that while Assam had done well by setting up medical colleges and opening hospitals, the exercise was proving futile as “most of them do not have doctors and medical facilities and for a minor ailment people have to run to private hospitals in Guwahati”.

On education, the appeal noted that over 70,000 government schools had shut down in the state so far, leaving people with no option but to send their children to private schools where the fee is very high.

“According to official figures, more than 8,066 elementary schools have either been shut down or merged with nearby schools in the past seven years in Assam,” the appeal added.


Meanwhile, protests are going on in the state against the CAA rules notified recently by the Centre.  The 16-party Opposition front has also submitted a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu urging the Centre to refrain from implementing the state's controversial CAA and called for repealing the "unconstitutional and anti-national" legislation. 

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