What is the top issue dominating the minds of voters this critical election season?
Multiple surveys have thrown up a unanimous answer— jobs, or more precisely, the lack of them. Surveys by Pew Research, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Times Now have revealed unemployment as the top issue. The ADR survey, which queried 2.7 lakh people, said employment is the top priority for voters, and they ranked the incumbent government’s performance in this area at an abysmal 2.15 on a scale of 5 — a forgettable performance appraisal.
Key opposition party Congress says it will make unemployment the rallying issue in its campaign. There are good reasons why the jobs crisis is getting so much attention. India is reeling under perhaps its worst ever job crisis.
According to a leaked official report (denied by the government), India’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year high at 6.1%, with youth being the most affected.
In the world’s youngest and second most populous nation, unemployment is understandably an emotive issue. With a workforce of more than 450 million people, close to 10 million new workers enter the labour market annually. The jobs situation is a reflection of the economy.
GDP growth has slowed down. Investment cycle hasn’t picked up. Amid sub-optimal capacity utilisation, fresh investment, especially in the private sector, has been of concern.
Foreign direct investment, household savings and farm income have all shown worrying trends. Worse, some of the most labour-intensive sectors led by real estate are going through a rough patch.
Post demonetisation and the GST roll-out, the MSME sector is facing multiple challenges. Manufacturing jobs fell in absolute terms from 58.9 million in 2011-12 to 48.3 million in 2015-16. Multiple sectors — from IT services, airlines to telecom — are going through a structural shift or consolidation.
Understandably, this election, political parties are laying thrust on the job crisis, trying to put the Modi government on the mat. In the 2014 general elections, he promised to create two crore jobs annually if voted to power. The government has failed to deliver.
Yet, when it comes to votes, jobs may not be the biggest rallying factor. Voting is a complex decision in India with caste, class, community, religion, political alliances and sops, etc. being important variables. Also, voters are aware that creating millions of jobs isn’t going to be easy for any party.
Rising global trade barriers, automation and intensifying farm-to-non-farm transition make things difficult. A bigger problem is the demand-supply mismatch and India’s employability crisis where graduates are poorly skilled. Demographic dividend turning into a demographic curse has been a constant worry. So, will jobs be top of mind when the Indian voter steps into the voting booth this summer?
ET Magazine reporters travelled to trade and industry hubs across the country to find out.
Constituency Gautam Buddha Nagar, UP
Jobs a Concern, But Will Vote Modi
By Malini Goyal
It’s 10 am on Sunday and the so-called Labour Chowk in Noida’s Sector 49 is abuzz with activity. A few hundred daily wage labourers anxiously await their day’s business. The corner stall serving hot chhole bhature is doing brisk business. Men — young and old — rush to every car that stops by, hoping to land a job for the day.
“It has become worse. Unemployment has risen. We have become poorer,” says Priyanshu Tiwari, 22, a jobless graduate who has been soliciting work here since 2017. He says the number of workers has multiplied — from around 200 then to now more than 500. Women, a rarity earlier, now have a visible presence.
Tiwari, like many others here, barely manages to get hired for 10 days a month, at a daily wage Rs 400. “There are no jobs in Noida’s factories,” he says.
As a job seeker, Tiwari is disappointed with the Modi government. “He promised us jobs but did not deliver,” he says. But as a voter, Tiwari has no doubts: “I will vote for Modiji. I like him. He is good for India.”
Noida, the economic engine for the politically important Uttar Pradesh, has been a hub for migrant workers. It has seen its voter count grow from 12.14 lakh in 2014 to 14.9 lakh in January 2019. Of them, 1.2 lakh are first-time voters.
Meanwhile, Amity University bustles with youthful energy. With 25,000 students, the mood here seems more upbeat. Campus placement has been average. A noticeable trend is that startups are showing up in large numbers. About 30% of MBA students have opted to become entrepreneurs.
“Five years back, nobody here talked of startups,” says Kritika Das Gupta, who heads the placement cell. Understandably, colleges and universities have become important battleground for parties.
Last Sunday, a day before ET Magazine visited Amity, BJP leader and union minister Sushma Swaraj addressed industrialists on campus. The next day, a news channel hosted a show with leaders from all major political parties and students in the audience.
Gunendra Singh, 22, says he is impressed with the way the Modi government has pushed the Startup India campaign. His batchmate Aditya Narula, 21, is happy with MSME loan schemes like Mudra. Many of
his friends, who have launched startups, have managed to get funding.
“I too applied but didn’t get it. Still, their mentoring helped me,” he says. Now, instead of launching his startup, he has opted to take up a job.
Prateeksha Tyagi, a 23-year-old MBA student, is happy with the way the Meerut expressway was built. Manya Khanna, 23, from Chhattisgarh, has landed a job with Hyundai Motor and says she is happy with what the BJP government did in her home state.
Her batchmate Shubham Sagar says Modi has delivered in dramatically changing his hometown Varanasi. His support isn’t blind. “Of course, there are ifs and buts. I don’t like the communal overtones or the cow move,” says Sagar.
However, of the 40-odd students this reporter met, at least 15 did not have a voter card.
Co-working hub 91 SpringBoard in Sector 1, Noida, echoes the mood. It houses 190 startups with 800 members. Nikhil Mishra, 27, a serial entrepreneur, says: “Except for the PSUs, the government has little role to play in jobs. I firmly believe that there is a long curve and a short curve game. The Modi government has had just five years. We need to give them more time,” he says.
Startup employee Eesha Kapoor, 25, says she is not 100% satisfied but she is sure Modiji has worked hard. “Tell me what is the alternative. There is none,” she says.
Over two days, this reporter met close to 100 voters, young and old, educated and illiterate, employed and unemployed. Undoubtedly, job is a critical issue. But the job crisis hasn’t dented Modi’s appeal. Everyone has their own reasons —a decisive and muscular government, its grand ambitions, the infrastructure push, brand India, its attempts to formalise the economy, the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor, and so on.
How will the job crisis affect votes? Voters don’t seem to see a correlation between the two.
Constituency — Surat, Gujarat
Back in Business
By Shantanu Nandan Sharma
Rutvik Vaghasiya is a second-generation textile entrepreneur in Surat. The 23-year-old, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, is convinced that he can now expand the mill set up by his father, Nitin Bhai, a decade ago.
The demand for textiles, Vaghasiya insists, would now pick up, as Surat — the second largest city in Gujarat, after Ahmedabad — is limping back to action. The city, which is a major hub of textiles and diamond processing, faced severe job loss after the double whammy of demonetisation in 2016 and the implementation of GST in 2017.
While the diamond industry — with about 6,000 units sustaining 12 lakh people — shrank, it was the loss of jobs in the textiles sector that shook the city. About 300,000 employees, many from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, became jobless when 70,000 looms out of 700,000 were sold in scrap markets after GST, according to data being prepared by the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association.
About 60,000 embroidery designers in the city, many of whom hail from the Saurashtra region, also lost their jobs, the data reveals. So, what could be the political fallout of job loss, as Surat goes to polls on April 23?
Vaghasiya says job loss won’t matter much: “The majority of people will continue to vote for peace and stability. Surat is one of the safest cities in the country. We don’t want to experiment with something new and bring in potential disruptions to our businesses.”
At least a dozen people ET Magazine spoke to echo the sentiment: job loss is a reality, but voters won’t experiment. However, a few among auto drivers and small vendors say they were hit the hardest and election will be an opportunity to vent their anger.
In the 2017 state poll, 15 of 16 assembly seats in Surat city went in favour of the ruling BJP even when demonetisation, GST and the reservation agitation of Patidars were urgent issues. In the entire state, the ruling party did not fare that well, clinching just 99 seats in an assembly of 182, with the opposition Congress sweeping the Saurashtra region — the home of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
In Surat, the original dwellers — the Surtis, as they are called — comprise less than 10% of the city’s population today. About 60% of a population of 44.6 lakh people (according to Census 2011) have come in from other states such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Many of them are now staunch supporters of the BJP.
A prominent BJP leader from the city, CR Patil, for instance, is a Maharashtrian. He won the 2014 Lok Sabha poll from Navasari constituency with a huge margin of 5.58 lakh votes. The city of Surat is spread across three Lok Sabha constituencies: Surat, Navasari and Bardoli.
When asked about a possible dent in his vote bank because of job losses, Patil says: “Surat has not witnessed any job loss. If one mill shut, another cropped up. Anyway, this Lok Sabha poll is not about Surat, but about the nation. People are not voting for me this time. They are voting for a strong prime minister.”
In the city, the BJP has shifted the political narrative from jobs to the air raids on terror camps in Pakistan, thereby packaging PM Narendra Modi as a decisive leader. In Surat — which runs on trade and entrepreneurship, not government jobs — the issue of joblessness has receded to the background.
When ET Magazine asked five undergraduate students in Surat’s Veer Narmad South Gujarat University on whether they were concerned about the unemployment numbers, they all said, “No.” They were all from well-to-do families of chartered accountants, designers and diamond traders.
“I chose interior design as my subject because I love creativity and I don’t need to look for a job. As an interior designer, I can be on my own,” says Saumya Khandelwal, a student. Jobs is not a poll issue for many in a city where “josh” is in running their own businesses.
Constituency Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu
Loyalties Intact Amid Job Worries
By Indulekha Aravind
For some, Sriperumbudur is where memories of good times lie buried. The manufacturing hub located 60 kilometres from Chennai was where Nokia and Foxconn had set up manufacturing units in 2005, employing some 9,000 permanent workers at one point. When an embattled Nokia sold its assets to Microsoft in 2013, the Sriperumbudur plant was left out because of legal complexities surrounding multiple tax demands amounting to thousands of crores. The plant was shut down in 2014 and the Foxconn unit, its major supplier, in 2015.
“I was a permanent employee at Foxconn for eight years. When I left, I was earning Rs 18,000. Now I’m earning Rs 12,000 as a driver on contract,” says I Jayakumar, while shooting the breeze at a tea shop in the SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu) industrial complex in Sriperumbudur before his work starts. No political party, he says, can remedy this.
Sriperumbudur and Oragadam are part of the auto manufacturing belt outside Chennai, where auto and two-wheeler companies such as Hyundai, Renault Nissan, Royal Enfield and Yamaha have plants, along with a slew of units supplying parts.
M Vijayabaskar, professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, says this region, considered part of Greater Chennai, forms one of the most important hubs in Tamil Nadu in terms of job creation, along with Coimbatore.
According to the Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy, Tamil Nadu’s unemployment rate was 1.4% in February 2019, considerably lower than the 7.2% nationally. Workers here say jobs are “100%” an important issue. They bring up the lack of job security, low salaries and the inability to find jobs commensurate with educational qualifications.
Diploma- and degree-holders in engineering, who work in low-skill jobs, for instance, are dime-a-dozen. Like Vinod N, rushing to make it to his 3 pm shift as a machine technician in an auto major.
“Note the point: I am a BE in mechanical engineering. But I am earning Rs 14,000 a month in my current job,” he says. Or Nandini S, who has a diploma in electrical engineering but is working in the quality department of a cable manufacturer, earning Rs 12,000 a month. “We have to work 8-hour shifts, standing,” says the 21-year-old, taking shelter from the fierce midday sun while waiting to hail a shared cab to work.
Others rue companies’ preference for contract labour from outside the state and trainees replaced every two years, to quell worker unrest. In the past one year, employees of Royal Enfield, Yamaha and Hyundai have gone on strike for better wages. Yet, when they enter the polling booth next month, none of this will matter.
S Chandrashekhar, for instance, says he has always voted for the AIADMK though former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death has left him unsure about who he will vote for this time. He says he cleared the railway recruitment exams but could not join because he was unable to afford the bribe he was asked to pay.
Praveen N, a 21-year-old trainee at a motorcycle manufacturer who says none of his batchmates from the ITI (industrial training institute) he attended have found jobs, will be casting his debut vote for the DMK, the party his family votes for.
Rahul Kumar, waiting in queue to enter a manufacturing plant in Oragadam where he has been a trainee for two years, intends to return to his hometown in Patna to cast his vote for Modi because the last five years, in his view, have been very good. “No party can be successful in job creation,” he says.
Quite a few locals voice support for former minister TR Baalu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate from Sriperumbudur who won the seat in 2009, before he shifted to Thanjavur in the last Lok Sabha elections. He will be contesting against NDA candidate A Vaithilingam from the Pattali Makkal Katchi. And while Tamil Nadu is considered a tough nut to crack for the BJP, which has just one Lok Sabha MP in the state, Modi finds a few backers.
“Educated people support Modi,” says Suresh K, a supervisor at a twowheeler plant. But there is a general air of resignation when discussing parties, promises and how the state will vote next month. The cynical consensus— people will vote for the candidate who pays them the most.
Constituency — Agra, UP
Reeling from Job Losses
By Prerna Katiyar
At Heeng ki Mandi, the hub of Agra’s famous footwear market, one is greeted by the sight of lockedup stores and piles of unsold stock. Traders claim half the shops and factories have shut down.
“Business has halved; half of the shoe-making factories have shut down,” laments Gagan Das Ramani, president of the Agra Shoe Federation. The man who has spent a good part of his life spearheading the leather industry here has seen better days.
The shoe industry that dates back to the Mughal era caters to an estimated 65% of country’s footwear demand and 25% of shoe exports, according industry estimates. With leather shoes available for around Rs 500, Agra footwear is seen as great value for money. Since they are handmade unlike the machine-made ones of Delhi or Ballabhgarh, they also offer more designs.
Till Partition, the footwear here was made by Dalit families and traded by Muslims. After Partition, Sindhis and Punjabis came into the trade. Business was booming. Annual sales were to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore until about two years back, according to the federation.
With cow vigilantism, demonetisation and GST, the footwear business has nearly come to a standstill. “I know of craftsmen who have left shoemaking and picked up menial jobs like driving e-rickshaws for livelihood,” says Ramani.
Original GST slab for footwear was 5% for shoes up to Rs 500 and 18% for pricier ones. Subsequently, the rate was cut to 12% for footwear costing more than Rs 500.
“Under the VAT (value added tax) regime, there was no tax on it. Additionally, the imposition of 28% GST on raw material has been a double whammy. Thousands associated with the industry are now jobless,” says Harsh Vanjani, a member of the Agra Shoe Federation.
Vaibhav Mishra, 21, had a dream of getting a “stable” government job like many others. A 2016 science graduate from Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University he applied for a couple of jobs immediately after college but to no avail. He now works in the accounts department of Kripa Karan Shoe at Dayalbagh and is also preparing for the Staff Selection Commission exams.
“I don’t blame anyone else. It is strange — the number of vacancies have risen yet the youth is not getting adequate jobs. Irrespective of local candidate, I’ll vote for Modi. He is the youth’s first choice.”
Agra produces nearly 200 million pairs of shoes annually in an industry that employs a quarter of the city’s population, according to Fair Labour Association (FLA), an organisation that promotes workers’ rights. “The shoe industry was once the lifeline of the city; today the industry is on life support,” says Narendra Pushnani, an Agra-based shoe exporter.
Aved Khan, 37, has been a marble craftsman in the Gokulpura area. Today, he has left his skilled job and is looking for any work that pays him enough to feed his family. Traders claim imposition of 18% GST has hit the industry hard.
“The trade has turned unattractive. I’m not the only one who was forced to leave the business. Earlier, there were close to 70,000 craftsmen; now there are just 15,000. I will vote for the mahagatbandhan candidate,” says Khan.
Sunil Kumar Verma, president of Agra Handicrafts Association, points to wider political ramifications. “It’s mostly Muslims who work as marble craftsmen. 2014 was different. This time, most of the minorities will not vote for the BJP.” The BJP has replaced MP Ram Shankar Katheria with UP minister SP Singh Baghel. The SP-BSP-RLD alliance has fielded Manoj Kumar Soni. Making the fight triangular will be Congress candidate and former IRS officer Preeta Harit.
Constituency — Pune, Maharashtra
By Suman Layak
Pune offers a variety of employment opportunities, and job prospects often sit side by side with hopelessness. Political opinion is likewise divided.
Between 17-year-old Alisha Pathan (pictured above), an apprentice at Tata Motors Skill Development Centre, and 34-year-old Harpreet Saluja, an out-of-job techie who drives for Uber, there is hope and desperation. Alisha and her colleague Prithviraj Ghadge at Tata Motors are still not eligible for vote but they feel prospects have improved in five years, especially for women.
Just as there are voices of support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, there is dissent too. Aspiring beautician Komal Korda is learning the tricks of the trade at Aundh Lighthouse, a centre started by the Pune Municipal Corporation and Pune City Connect, a non-profit with corporate backing. Korda is joining duty at a beauty parlour on April 1 for a stipend of Rs 3,000 a month and hopes to set up her own shop in a year. She was a BJP supporter but now feels that on creating jobs, the government has not kept its word. So she will vote for change.
“Many of my friends were selected for government jobs after ads were published and exams were conducted but they are yet to get appointment letters.”
And there are others like Saluja, who are circumspect. A member of the Forum for IT Employees, a union of IT/BPO staffers, he is fighting a case against his former employer in the labour court. He wants a change in legislation and says he will vote for the party that can protect his ilk.
Contrast this with Gaurav Sisodia, a 27-year-old engineer who switched to an IT biggie from a mid-sized tech company last year after teaching himself Java through free resources. “I will go with the development agenda and vote for the BJP candidate.”
Pune is an education hub and attracts students from across India and the job scene here is seeing a transition. Instead of hiring permanent staffers, the manufacturing units are opting for contractual and outsourced models.
Jobs have become diverse, but permanent employment is decreasing. Suruchi Wagh, cofounder of Jombay, a B2B human resource startup, says the onus is on employees to upgrade their skill sets, especially if they are in the IT/BPO sector.
“Permanent employment, as we understand it, is going down. But livelihood options are on the way up….And this has nothing to do with politics,” says Pradeep Bhargava, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.
Pune’s youngsters, who have understood the transition, are adapting quickly. Yet, politically, many are undecided. Atul Bhandare, a 21-year-old from Bopali, who has passed Class 10, did a bakery course at Aundh Lighthouse and landed a job as a baker at Café Peter. In his spare time, he also works as an electrician’s assistant. Bhandare’s family members are traditional voters of the Nationalist Congress Party but he says he will wait before deciding which party to vote for.
Rohan Gaikwad, a commerce graduate who found a job at a BPO unit, says his sympathies are with the BJP but he is yet to decide which party to back. “Parties just want our votes.” It may be worth the wait. While the BJP has replaced incumbent MP Anil Shiroke with Girish Bapat as its candidate, the Congress is yet to name his challenger.
Constituency — Ludhiana, Punjab
Skill Gap Hurts Job Prospects
By Ishani Duttagupta
It is not just the top manufacturing hub in Punjab but also a centre for small industries in India. So it is not surprising that business leaders in Ludhiana are more concerned about finding skilled people rather than raising the red flag on unemployment.
Punjab’s Ghar Ghar Rozgaar & Karobaar mission, launched in November last year, was aimed at addressing the skill gap in small and medium enterprises.
Pradeep Kumar Agrawal, deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, is not willing to comment specifically on the impact of the mission on the upcoming elections since the Election Commission’s model code of conduct is in place.
“However, industries here have been struggling to find people with the right skills. And now, the district bureau of employment and enterprises is trying to connect jobseekers with employers through a new website, counselling sessions as well as job fairs,” he adds.
Many business leaders say the state government has just made a start and a lot remains to be done on the jobs front. “Most companies here are facing high attrition rate and are looking for the right people for various kinds of jobs, even as youth in the villages and small towns around here face unemployment. We are even
willing to partner with the government to train people,” says Upkar Singh Ahuja, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking and president of auto parts manufacturing group, New Swan Enterprises.
Jaskaran Singh is one of the lucky ones who got employed recently. The 20-year-old was among the 15,000 who applied for a job at a fair held in Ludhiana in February. He landed a job with Ludhiana’s City Bus Service, earning about Rs 10,000 a month.
“I was helping out at our family farm after I finished Class 12 but I was constantly looking for a job also. Getting this job was a big break for me. I feel that positive steps like job fairs will play an important role in helping young people in deciding which party to vote for,” he says.
Women make up a significant number of the labour force in the factories across Ludhiana, and they are likely to play a significant role in deciding who will represent their constituency in Parliament. “I have a permanent job in a good company where women can work without any fear,” says Jyoti Sharma, 35, who earns around Rs 10,000 per month, working the wheel assembly line at Avon Cycles, Ludhiana’s second largest bicycle manufacturer.
But the softspoken single mother of two children is aware that her income is not enough. “As a single mother who must think of the future of her children, I will be closely watching which political party addresses the issues of employment and wages.”
The Vardhman group, one of the largest manufacturing companies in Ludhiana, employs 10,500 people in Punjab, including 3,700 women. “We employ many women in our factories and address the issue of their welfare in a big way, including running four hostels for them,” says DL Sharma, director, Vardhman Textiles.
But to deepen the pool of talent available to employers in Ludhiana, he says the central and state governments need to take more meaningful steps. Elections are more than a month and a half away and none of the political parties have declared their candidates for this constituency.
No matter who contests the polls in this bicycles and knitwear hub, jobs and employability will certainly be important issues.
Constituencies: Bangalore Central & Bangalore North, Karnataka
By Rahul Sachitanand
Bellandur and Peenya, once sleepy backwaters of Bengaluru, provide contrasting views of the city, which is known as an employment magnet. Bellandur, in southeast Bengaluru, is a throbbing hub of large technology and startup offices and campuses. Peenya, in the northwest, is a grungy industrial suburb with thousands of small manufacturers crammed into a warren of roads.
Factories often operate out of cramped facilities here, a far cry from the glass and chrome buildings of Bellandur. Those working in Bellandur grumble about choked roads. During peak time, a vehicle might take an hour to cover 5 km. Cab aggregator drivers shudder when they get a trip to this area. A lake next door, foaming over with industrial effluent, keeps this borough in the news.
Nevertheless, places like Bellandur, Whitefield and Electronic City house sought-after offices for technology coders. A significant chunk of voters here are young people or are first or second timers. The major contestants in the locality in Bangalore Central Lok Sabha constituency are incumbent MP PC Mohan (BJP) and Rizwan Arshad (Congress). Actor Prakash Raj is also contesting this seat as an independent.
From his office building in Bellandur, Arpit Bhatt, 32, an engineer with a multinational networking and security firm, is keenly watching the election drama. He has felt the pangs of unemployment, albeit in the US. When he graduated from his master’s programme in 2009, the financial meltdown was in full flow. Barely 30% of his classmates bagged internships. He could not.
“I want to vote for candidates who have a vision for key issues such as jobs and job creation and have the capabilities to execute it.” Lok Sabha polls candidates should provide a broader framework for the country’s progress rather than promise to solve Bengaluru’s local issues, says the engineer.
The city — once a magnet for technical and blue-collar workers thanks to staterun firms such as ITI, HAL, BEL and BEML — saw a spurt in jobs from an assortment of sectors. Bengaluru was a favoured destination for technology behemoths, too. But technology outsourcing’s sheen as a pre-eminent employer has now dulled.
Rapidly changing technology needs and tightening immigration norms have slowed job and salary growth. This has also affected indirect employment in this IT hub.
Some 34 km to the northwest, Peenya houses several industries based here for decades. There are some 6,000 small enterprises crammed into a warren of roads in the industrial area, employing as many as 800,000 people, according to Peenya Industries Association. Companies in this cluster generate over Rs 12,000 crore in revenue, it says.
Despite the change in work-scape, the primary issue is the same. Over the past couple of years, jobs in this primarily cash-driven industrial hub dried up due to demonetisation and GST.
“Peenya continues to be a hub of employment for south India,” says Giri MM, president of Peenya Industries Association. “We business owners require at least 100,000 people for our factories.” But Giri wants actual employability, rather than empty job generation boasts. “We hire poorly trained technical talent and invest our resources to train them.”
The primary contestants from the locality in Bangalore North constituency are the BJP’s DV Sadananda Gowda and the Congress’ Krishna Byre Gowda. Two streets away from the cool offices of Peenya Industries Association, M Rajanna, 50, a blue-collar worker in a small steel fabrication unit, says the job generation claims made by ruling party politicians are bunkum. Dressed in dark-blue oil-soaked overalls, he takes a moment to wipe his brow with a rag.
“These are all empty promises that politicians have made over time and this party (BJP) is no different. We tend to ignore these claims and vote for the candidate that at least promises the most changes to where we live and work.” He rushes away to grab a quick lunch before resuming work.
Several small-scale units here have been operating on a knife edge after demonetisation and GST. If business dives, employment dries up. Rajanna and people like him are taking it one day at a time.