Rajasthan Elections: Forget the Maharaja-Maharani spiel. Here's what the young crowd of Jaipur wants these polls
Jaipur is a melting pot, with waves of enterprising youth. They need support from government. The question is, which one will respond?
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It’s the week of elections in Jaipur. With four days to go, rallies cheering on some candidate or the other lend background music to this otherwise quiet city. At three in the afternoon, I can hear one outside, as I catch up on my reading. A short while later, someone rings the bell. Two individuals — a young woman who seems no older than 23, and a middle-aged man — greet us cheerfully, and hand us a pamphlet urging us to vote for Dr Arun Chaturvedi, a BJP representative. The next morning, we wake up to Congress flags hoisted on terraces in the neighbourhood.
Jaipur is decking up for elections. (Source: IndiaToday.in)
Two days before the poll, PM Modi pays a visit. A large crowd gathers to listen to the Prime Minister and cheer him on. The PM has a huge fan following in the city, and the majority here are appreciative of many of the reforms that have been introduced under his reign. The Aadhar Card and digitalisation, in particular, have been a hit, making lives easier for many.
However, while by and large it seems that PM Modi has charmed several, there seems to be a gap between the policies and plans in place, and their implementation.
Jaipur is a growing hub for young entrepreneurs. But many seem dissatisfied with the implementation of policies such as GST and VAT. While on paper, there are provisions that are alleged to benefit small businesses, the ground reality doesn’t match up. The processes are painfully slow, and there seems to be no proper system in place to report inefficiency and grievances.
In Jaipur, there are rules, such as cafés and restaurants are to shut by 11 pm, and liquor licenses can be granted only if there are rooms in the premises, where people can spend the night. The youth of the city would very much like to see this change. Because of restrictions on running a business or shop past 10 or 11 pm, there are no 24/7 outlets or late-night cafeterias. Having rooms on premises doesn’t prevent people from drinking and driving.
While on paper there are provisions that will benefit small businesses, ground reality doesn’t match up. (Source: Instagram)
In short, the youth of Jaipur would like to see rules and regulations that in fact allow for the growing business market here.
Meanwhile, if a cop misbehaves, where does one go?
If a government official refuses to accept E-Aadhar card as a proof of identity, which is legal, where does one go?
If a bus driver drives rashly and brushes against one’s vehicle, where does one go?
These are the everyday issues and pressing questions on the minds of many urban residents. While a corruption-free state is an ideal scenario, one is only too naive to hope for, the general theme seems to be that under the present incumbent, government officials get a lot of leeways.
The CM, surrounded by netas and officials. (Source: AajTak)
Of course, Jaipur is changing too. There are new flyovers and metro lines being built across the city — but unfortunately, they have been under construction for far too long, causing chaos on the roads. One resident of Jaipur tells me, “Roads are being revamped now, close to the elections, but it seems like it’s only for show. This government has been in power for five years, but no real change has happened when it comes to infrastructure. So, why now? Only to show that work is being done, when it’s not really.”
And that’s just one example. People here would like to see more focus on the development of better roads, better buildings and other amenities that make one’s everyday life easier — transportation one can bank on, better implementation of traffic rules, cleaner roads and neighborhoods, more greenery, better preservation of the abundant historical sites that makes this city such an attraction.
Jaipur's heritage needs protection. Who exactly is listening? (Source: Sudhir Herle/Wikimedia Commons)
So far, Jaipur has seen little of the above.
Jaipur's travails extend to its people's safety. In recent years, the numbers of reported sexual assaults and kidnappings of children and women have increased. While this is a national issue, it warrants the attention of every state official, and Jaipur is no exception. Jaipur would like to see more women in the workforce, and stringent safety measures put in place.
But safety is not the only concern. The mother of a young girl tells me there is hardly any infrastructure for kids. “The park in our neighbourhood has swings for the children, but they are broken. It is in a shambles — and nobody bothers to fix it.”
Known for iconic fashion and jjewellery brands, there is a hip new side to Jaipur. (Source: Tripvisor)
Jaipur is a melting pot, with waves of creative and enterprising youth who have the potential to turn this tourist attraction into a place one seeks out not only for its rich culture and traditional heritage but also its “big city” lifestyle and a hip vibe. When it comes to the youth of the city, who are the forefront of cultural and economic change and growth, that’s exactly what they want to see — and that’s where they need support from the government. This one. Or another.