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India General Elections 2024: Bihar students want change

Updated on: 25 May,2024 05:10 AM IST  |  Patna
Diwakar Sharma |

In state obsessed with caste equations, a new generation of students are more worried about jobs and the future

India General Elections 2024: Bihar students want change

Aspirants preparing for competitive exams at a lodge in Patna, Bihar. Pic/Diwakar Sharma

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India General Elections 2024: Bihar students want change

The students of Patna preparing for various competitive exams are unhappy with the inadequate vacancies in government, Bihar’s crumbling infrastructure, drug menace, availability of liquor despite its ban, rampant corruption, and paper leaks. They say they anticipate a shift in the Central government, hoping for positive reforms to address these pressing concerns.

Although Bihar is heavily influenced by caste politics, students are pinning their hopes on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) scion Tejashwi Yadav who has promised job opportunities. The inclination of students towards Tejashwi Yadav, a popular face of RJD, can be detrimental to the sitting MP of Patliputra Ram Kripal Yadav—a BJP leader who is known for his close association with the RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. RJD has been unsuccessfully fielding Misa Bharti, the eldest of Lalu and Rabri’s nine children, against Ram Kripal Yadav since 2014.

In his party’s manifesto, the 34-year-old Bihar’s former deputy chief minister Yadav announced at least one crore jobs for youth in railways, armed forces and other government sectors at the national level only if the INDIA bloc comes to power. Despite being cognizant of the ‘gundaraj’ era during the reign of RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, young students still perceive Tejashwi Yadav as a ‘youth icon’ in Bihar.

Government job aspirants pool resources to share rooms in lodges and attend coaching classes. PIC/DIWAKAR SHARMA
Government job aspirants pool resources to share rooms in lodges and attend coaching classes. PIC/DIWAKAR SHARMA 

“Tejashwi has a vision; at least he is thinking about employment more than any other party leaders who have national recognition,” said Varun Kumar, who is preparing for general competitions and resides in a lodge in Patna’s Ram Kishore colony. Despite scanty resources in their villages, a significant number of students from various districts flock to Patna. Here, they pool resources to share rooms in lodges and attend coaching classes with the aim of cracking competitive exams to improve their standard of living.

“A plethora of candidates eagerly fills up forms, only to face the harsh reality of inadequate vacancies,” said Varun, who lives in a lodge at Patna’s Bakri Mandi area preparing for general competition. “Despite facing the harsh reality, we mustered the courage to sit for exams, but later discovered that the papers had been leaked. This revelation was terribly disappointing, especially for economically disadvantaged students like me, who have dedicatedly prepared for these exams with the hope of securing a job,” said Varun, who hails from an underprivileged family in Sahara district.

“Though FIRs are registered to investigate the paper leaks, but it’s all hogwash… the underprivileged students always have to suffer,” said Varun. “No exams are conducted fairly in Bihar. Enough of the politics. Now, we want a new face. At least, a new face will do something good for the state.”

Alok Kumar, who hails from Madhubani district, is studying medicine, and wondered, “Why is there no significant number of medical colleges in Bihar? The recent pandemic has underscored the critical importance of medical personnel. However, the existing medical colleges are plagued by crumbling infrastructure, exacerbating the challenges faced by healthcare workers.”

“The government should think about why students are going to countries like Russia and Ukraine to study medicine. Why are private hospitals thriving in Bihar? Can a poor farmer afford to visit these top private hospitals in Bihar? Why is the government not coming up with more medical colleges?” wondered Alok. “Naturally, we will shift our focus to support Tejashwi Yadav because the existing government has failed to improve infrastructure,” he added. His lodge partner Prakash Kumar Yadav said, “Many government posts are lying vacant, but the vacancies are less in all the sectors. The government must think about the students.”

Ram Kumar has been residing in Patna for the last few years preparing for Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC). “Every time, the questions are asked out of syllabus. ” The Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has held the Chief Minister’s post for the last two-decades. Kumar was dubbed as ‘sushashan babu’ in Bihar, as he had dethroned the ‘gundaraj’. But he is now losing his political charm among the younger generation.

“Liquor is banned in the state, but it is available everywhere. Now, the drug menace is a big issue here as the state is becoming ‘Udta Bihar’. But the government is not taking any stern action to eradicate the drug menace,” said Ram. The rapidly shifting political landscape in Bihar has indeed frustrated many voters in the state. Nitish Kumar’s opportunistic maneuvers, jumping from one political front to another solely to maintain his coveted position, have left a sour taste among the electorate.

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