Friday, November 16, 2012

Govt scheming youth centres for BJP's electioneering

Nikunj Soni & Sumit Khanna l Ahmedabad
With just a few months to go before the assembly elections are upon us, the Narendra Modi-led state government already seems in the campaign mode. The government has decided to open Vivekananda Yuva Kendras (VYK) across the state to help propagate government schemes, but, they are, in fact, being used to give backdoor entry to BJP youth wing workers and leaders.
The government has floated the scheme recently to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda with the aim to inculcate national spirit among the youths and to enhance cultural activities. The Vivekananda Yuva Kendras would be established in villages, and up to ward level in municipal corporation areas. A youth organisation comprising minimum 25 youths would be needed to form these centres. The government will provide grant of Rs35,000 to each VYK, and they will hold cultural and sports activities including exhibition on the life of Swami Vivekananda.
The centres will also hold cricket and volleyball matches, elocution competition, among other events using the funds. These Youth Centres will be established on the lines of Nehru Yuva Kendras, a senior official said. “These centres will be set-up across the state. The Nehru Yuva Kendras are set up only at the district level, but these will be right up to the village level,” said the official.
It is learnt from sources that most of these centres will have BJP youth wing workers, or people who are pro-BJP. The party has ordered induction of maximum BJP workers in these centres. The scheme will ultimately help the saffron party to influence voters in the name of cultural activities ahead of polls.
Confirming this, a top BJP leader said, “We are not denying that BJP workers will not be involved with VYK. However, it will not be the case in all instances.” According to officials, these Kendras would also serve as the centre for various government schemes and activities. “These kendras would act as centres for implementation of Aapna Taluko Vibrant Taluko (ATVT), sports events such as Khel Mahakumbh, and other programmes. These centres will also help in creating awareness for social objectives such as education and health,” said an official. l Meanwhile, Congress has accused the government for misusing the Central government funded scheme for the poll agenda. “The VYK scheme is similar to Central government's scheme, Nehru Yuvak Sangathan (NYS). The government has renamed it and is giving entry to BJP workers,” said Manish Doshi, general secretary of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee. In-charge ministers of districts concerned have been given responsibility to appoint BJP workers in key positions at VYK and they are seeking names from district units of the party, he added. BJP spokesperson IK Jadeja could not be contacted in spite of several attempts.