Dehradun: The Election Commission on Friday demanded an explanation from the ruling Congress in Uttarakhand within 48 hours for allegedly distributing unemployment allowance cards among jobless youths in violation of the model code of conduct.
Taking cognisance of media reports that the Congress was distributing 'berozgari bhatta cards' at public meetings, additional chief election officer V Shanmugham shot off a letter to state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay asking him to explain within 48 hours why distribution of these cards among the beneficiaries should not be treated as gross violation of the model code of conduct.
Referring to the Commission's 23 January letter by which it had refused to grant permission to the party for distribution of these cards, the additional CEO asked the PCC chief why the party should not be acted against for violating the model code of conduct.
With the youth constituting nearly 57% of Uttarakhand's total electorate, the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) on Friday launched an initiative in Dehradun designed to woo young voters by enrolling them for a scheme that promises one job to a young member of each household by 2020 and payment of a monthly stipend to jobless young men for 36 months till they get employment.
Part of chief minister Harish Rawat's nine 'sankalps' (commitments) announced in Dehradun recently to lure voters to the party ahead of 15 February assembly polls, the initiative titled 'Har Sang Harda' aims at providing one job per household for a youth between 18 -35 years of age by 2020 and an allowance of Rs2,500 per month for every jobless member of the age group through a 'Berozgari Bhatta Card' for 36 months till they are employed. The youth will also be given skill training till such employment is provided. Harda is a term of endearment given to chief minister Harish Rawat by his admirers. "This is not a mere promise, but a sankalp —our resolve to empower the youth in Uttarakhand by making them self-sufficient," PCC president and party candidate from Sahaspur Kishore Upadhyay who launched the initiative in the presence of AICC member Kumari Selja told reporters.