Two Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh — the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) -- have launched a campaign urging people to switch off lights and light candles to highlight rising unemployment and other issues facing the country.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has appealed to people to switch off lights for 9 minutes at 9 pm on September 9 to express solidarity with the families facing unemployment.
“When the youths get determined, oppressive rulers lose their sleep,” Yadav, also the president of SP, said in a tweet.
"Come, let us light the torch of revolution by switching off the lights for 9 minutes at 9 PM tonight to express solidarity with the youths and their families who are facing the darkness of unemployment,” Yadav tweeted, using the hashtag. #9Baje9Minute.
This comes a day after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav urged people in poll-bound Bihar to light a candle on their roofs or in the balconies of their houses around the same time demanding employment.
The exercise is similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal in April when he asked people to light candles, lamps and turn mobile phone torches on as a mark of respect for the workers from healthcare and other sectors who were at the forefront in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic.
Pointing to joblessness among educated youth, SP leader Anurag Bhadauria said the government of the day had not done anything for them. “Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to provide jobs to the unemployed youth,” Bhadauria told newspersons. “The switching off lights campaign is to mark our protest against government’s failures,” he said.
The UP Congress has also urged people to light candles and earthen lamps around the same time to remove what their leaders called the “dark clouds of arrogance” from the “jumlebaaz” government’s eyes. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, too, has supported the campaign.
“The youth of the country want to make their voice heard. The youth are raising their voice against stalled recruitments, examination dates, appointments and jobs,” Vadra said in a tweet using the hashtag '9 baje 9 minute yuvaon ki baat' and #StopPrivatisation_SaveGovtJob.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, have stepped up their attack against the government over the long-festering economic crisis, rise in unemployment and dismal GDP figures. The Congress party said that with a labour force of 42.8 crore, including 3.6 crore unemployed, across the country, job creation should be the government's top priority.
"Twelve crore jobs have vanished; 5-trillion dollar economy has vanished; the common man's income too and so the country's prosperity has vanished." Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said last week