Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh has said that distress among farmers, coupled with unemployment, led to some sections of the society to vote against the ruling BJP in the recent Assembly elections. Farmers across Gujarat in general, and Saurashtra in particular, “expressed their anger” against the BJP for various reasons such as less-than-expected prices of farm produce, Singh said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of Ahmedabad office of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Thursday. “Another thing…which has come out during the elections…two factors came out very very strongly. One was farmers’ distress. Farmers all throughout Gujarat, particularly in Saurashtra. They have expressed their distress, their anger, by voting against the ruling party,” he said.
“Why has it been so? There is some sort of feeling that things are not remunerative, things are not coming out. And second factor is employment…employment among youth…employment all around,” he said.
Singh expressed hope that the AEPC’s new office would give a boost to the garment sector and create more jobs. “We wish that Gujarat becomes a major garment hub… from all over Gujarat, people who are unemployed, I mean the unemployment among the youth should be taken care of,” he said.
The new BJP government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was sworn in earlier this week. Though the BJP retained power, its tally came down to 99 from 115 seats in 2012, while the Congress improved its numbers from 61 in 2012 to 77.
Farmers’ distress and unemployment were at the centre of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s extensive campaign. The BJP lost several seats in Saurashtra, the party’s bastion for almost two decades. The Congress won 30 out of 54 Assembly seats across 12 districts of Saurashtra and Kutch, from 16 seats in 2012.
The BJP’s tally in the region fell from 35 in 2012 to 23 this time. The party was completely wiped out in Amreli, Gir Somnath and Morbi districts.