Students from some of the top colleges and universities in Assam listed growing intolerance, increasing unemployment and poor grassroot education and medical facilities as major issues this general election.
Calling the political parties to work on the same, the student community said that growing lack of secularism is a threat to the social fabric of the nation.
Speaking to The News Mill, they added that the political parties till now have been able to veil the real burning issues and rather focus on scoring brownie points.
“Unemployment is a major issue…agrarian crisis has worsened. In Assam, major 4-lane road development projects across the state must be finished as soon as possible. The dwindling health sector needs a major turnover. Rehabilitation of the unorganized sector and the unskilled workforce should be the prime agendas of the candidates in fray for the limited seats in the state,” said Rajat Sen, a mass communication student of Assam University.
Sen added that at present the politicians are busy mudslinging each other, making ambitious bounties and coming up with fancy hashtags this election.
Anindita Das, a student of law at Gauhati University, said that the attacks on secularism should be stopped. She said that instead the growing unemployment problem must be resolved with proper planning and politicians must have clear vision to solve it.
“The people of Assam are going to Kerala and other parts of the country for Rs 5000-salary of security guard jobs. Why can’t they be engaged in some productive work here itself? The industrial policy of the state is pathetic. No political parties provide alternative ideas. Leaders are concerned about floods only during the monsoons. But they do nothing throughout the year. No proactive measures are taken. There is no constructive vision,” she said.
Das also stressed that the number of women parliamentarian in India is less and that is why women reservation bill must be passed in the parliament.
Richard Choudhury of Rabindra Bharati University, who hails from Barpeta district of Assam, said: “I really do not see any new way to go out to the voters. I think unemployment is the primary issue that the politicians should address immediately. They should go out with the issue of unemployment and placement scheme.”
Choudhury added that the opposition should fact-check the promises made by the ruling party during the previous elections and try to pave way for fulfilment of the same.
Mrinal Borah who teaches sociology at Gauhati University echoed that the most important driving force for Indian politics must be on economic agenda that works in tandem with the Indian Constitution or the spirit of the Constitution.
“The economic approach for development must be bottom up approach. The politics and politicians who are interested in bringing in the economic development for the majority of the population must be given the chance,” he said.
Manaswita Mahanta, a student of communication and journalism at Gauhati University said instead of spending on making movies to uplift their images or coin ‘phrases’ that go viral, if the parties could have been thinking more about the people and what the country needs, it would be more helpful.
“The constant increase in prices, the growing lack of secularism, the increasing unemployment, poor education and medical facilities…these are the issues that should be talked about not ‘main bhi chowkidaar’. The truth is no matter who wins this year, we, the public, are going to be clear losers,” Mahanta said.