Over the past few weeks, India has seen a rather unusual trend which is worrying the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the public display of anger by youths, the majority of which has been a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over unemployment and job loss.
The display of anger first caught the public eye when youths launched a campaign to 'dislike' videos of Prime Minister Modi speeches which evidently started with Modi's address during his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' aired on August 30. The video garnered an unprecedented 12 lakh 'dislikes' against 4.58 lakh 'likes', something arguably never happened since he took to power in 2014.
Anguished over non-fulfillment of promises regarding jobs, the youth continued the trend for the next few days, forcing a worried BJP to not provide the option (of hitting the 'like' or 'dislike' button) on the video of his interaction with IPS probationers posted on the channel on September 4.
The proceeding days saw youths giving calls to light lamps and candles against the rising level of unemployment in the country. Many prominent political parties and leaders including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav & former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat announced their support to the campaign and participated in the events.
Declaring National Unemployment Day
On September 17, when BJP workers were distributing fruits and milk among the needy and children to celebrate PM Modi's birthday, thousands of their former supporters declared the day as 'National Unemployment Day' and made #Berojgardiwas trend on Twitter throughout the day.
The protests have caused BJP-ruled states scrambling to take measures and coming out clean over job creation to assuage the public anger ahead of Bihar elections.
A day after Modi's birthday, the Chief Ministers of two BJP-ruled states – Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – announced some measures and released several press releases and tweets, highlighting the steps taken by their governments to boost employment.
On Friday, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath presided over a meeting of senior government officers and directed them to "immediately apprise him about the vacant posts in all departments and directed them to start the recruitment process in the next three months."
In a press release, the state government said that 3 lakh vacant posts were filled since 2017 and 85,000 recruitments were under process. By evening, the government also announced the selection of 2,059 candidates for Subordinate Agriculture Service (Class III) Technical Assistant Group C, which was pending for a long time.
The office of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat posted nearly a dozen tweets, saying that government has provided over 7.12 lakh jobs since April 2017 including that of outsourced, private jobs.
An engineering student best summarizes why BJP governments are desperate to do damage control, at a time when questions on being raised over the state of the economy and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I am angry, disenchanted and disheartened. Modi government has done something for every section of society except for the youth. He says India is a country of the youth which is opposing his government that means 65% people of India is against his government," says Abhijeet Mishra who has been an active member of ABVP, student wing of RSS.
He adds, "The youth was looking up to Modi ji but he has started privatizing everything while talking big about nationalism."