Rahul Gandhi addresses during the AICC OBC National Convention in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

India Opposition Candidate Pledges 2.2 Million State Jobs by March 2020

(Bloomberg) -- Rahul Gandhi, president of India’s main opposition Congress party, said his party will fill 2.2 million government job vacancies by March 2020, if voted to power, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased the government’s decisiveness in handling terrorism as political parties wooed voters.

Better employment opportunities is the top priority of India voters, according to a survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms, an election watchdog. Indians are dissatisfied with the government’s performance on issues such as jobs, healthcare, drinking water and public transport. Lack of employment opportunities and rising prices were the most pressing challenges for more than 70 percent of people surveyed by Pew Research Center last year.

India Opposition Candidate Pledges 2.2 Million State Jobs by March 2020

The Congress party is seeking to wrest power from Modi’s ruling coalition in the elections that will take place in seven phases between April 11 and May 19, with results to be announced on May 23.

Modi has been criticized by the opposition for not fulfilling his promise of creating 10 million jobs each year -- a pledge that helped him win over India’s youth in the 2014 election. The ruling party denies this charge. It has created enough jobs by doubling the pace of making roads and railways, built 80 million toilets and 25 million homes in a country that has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, said Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in an interview to the Economic Times. “The problem is not a crisis of jobs but a crisis of data,” he said.

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Modi to address rallies on Monday in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
  • Gandhi to hold public meetings in Telangana
  • Congress party to release its manifesto on Tuesday
  • India’s communist party to halt sale of state companies if it wins elections

POLITICAL ALLIANCES:

StateBJP AllianceCongress AllianceOthersRemarks
Uttar Pradesh--SP, BSP, RLD
Tamil NaduAIADMK & othersDMK & others-
MaharashtraShiv SenaNCP
BiharJD(U) & LJPRJD & RSLP-
PunjabSAD--
KarnatakaJanata Dal(S)
JharkhandAIJSUJMM & JVM
Assam & North EasternAGP, BPF, NPP, NDPPINPT
Jammu & KashmirNational Conference

IN THE MEDIA:

  • Rural crisis, man-animal conflict await Gandhi in new battleground: Indian Express
  • Opposition pushes for anti-BJP front government: Hindustan Times
  • Farm issues may play key role in Rajasthan: Hindustan Times
  • Hate politics, urban aspiration collide in battle for Uttar Pradesh: BQ
  • Decoding Congress’ ‘Nyay’ plan with Praveen Chakravarty

ELECTION & MARKETS:

  • Indian equities benchmark was set to close at a record high. Expectations that the central bank will announce its second interest-rate cut this year and the election will see Modi reelected has helped lift investor sentiment.
  • India’s three-month inter-bank rate declined in the 2014, 2009, 1999 elections, United Overseas Bank Ltd.’s economist Barnabas Gan wrote in a report on Monday. With RBI expected to cut rates this week, the inter-bank rates could be lower this year as well
  • While any single party may not get a majority, a strong showing for the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh state would go a long way to ensuring that it can form a dominant and stable coalition, Shilan Shah, senior India economist at Capital Economics Ltd. said in a March 29 report. This would ensure that it can continue implementing gradual structural reform over the coming years without having to keep too close an eye on fractious coalition partners, he said.

OPINION POLLS:

India Opposition Candidate Pledges 2.2 Million State Jobs by March 2020

LATEST COMMENTS:

  • “For me, the election is not priority, but the country is priority for me,” Modi said while addressing gatherings through video-conference from New Delhi
  • “The BJP has sister organisations. I would like to request them that if you love the country, please don’t support Narendra Modi and Amit Shah,” said Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal in a rally
  • “If people of India make air pollution a political issue then it will be one,” Milind Deora, Congress party’s candidate in south Mumbai said when asked why politicians aren’t discussing pollution. “For now the narrative of the country is if you want” a temple or a mosque, he said

ECONOMY:

  • Modi’s government in its budget pledged to transfer as much as 6,000 rupees a year to farmers. That is unlikely to have a significant impact on inflation, Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economist at State Bank of India, said in a note. India’s inflation accelerated to 2.57 percent in February
  • Congress’ income support plan may be fiscally prudent if it offsets existing subsidies, which amount to about 3.2 percent of GDP, Sonal Varma and Aurodeep Nandi, economists at Nomura, said in a note on March 26.
  • The other options are to “compromise on capital expenditure,” worth 1.6 percent of GDP and impose additional taxes, Nomura said

BLOOMBERG EXCLUSIVES:

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    Quotas Set to Change the Balance of Power for Women in India
  • Young, Angry and ‘Untouchable’: India’s Low-Caste Threat to Modi
  • Tackling Rising Hate Speech in the World’s Biggest Election
  • India’s Gen Z Voters’ Call for 2019 Election: More Jobs, Please

QUICKTAKE:

  • Your Guide to India’s Upcoming General Election
  • Why Election Goodies Await India’s Struggling Farmers
  • Why India’s Lower Castes Could Hold Key to Election

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