bears out the crisis of jobs in large parts of the semi-urban and rural hinterland, which would include places such as Pipli. The UPA’s claims of development schemes targeting rural India notwithstanding, levels of unemployment among rural youth, both male and female, was found to be much more in 2011-12 than in 2009-10, 2004-05 and 1999-2000.
More worrying in the data are trends showing the rate of unemployment increasing progressively with rising levels of education for both men and women. 16.3 per cent of urban males who were graduates or above in the age group of up to 29 years were unemployed in 2011-12 — a percentage that had worsened steadily over the preceding decade.
On Thursday, most of Pipli seemed to be in the grip of Modi’s perceived promise. Much of the town appeared to head for the mandi, shops were closed, petrol pumps were deserted, and an empty “Maruti-authorised” service offered circumstantial evidence of a “Modi wave” in the traditional Congress stronghold.
Long before Modi was to speak in the late afternoon, the mandi was full to the brim, with trucks laden with people continuing to come in. Most people at the venue said this was significant because a recent Congress roadshow had struggled to fill the same space.
Local BJP leaders, who had initially been upset over the candidature of “outsider” Saini — a former state minister who comes originally from Naraingarh in Ambala district — seemed to have given up their opposition. In any case, there was hardly any talk of the candidate or of the agenda outlined by the local party unit. All that people seemed to be able to see — and were concerned with — was a victory for Modi, and the jobs it would bring.