Unemployment dominant theme in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh will go to the polls on November 12 and while the ruling BJP is projected to retain power despite anti-incumbency and unemployment flagged as the prime issue.

According to an opinion poll conducted by CVoter on behalf of ABP News, the ruling party is projected to get a majority by winning 42 out of the 68 seats in the Assembly. The sample size of the tracking poll was 6,245 respondents.

This result, if voters do cast their ballot as suggested by them in the poll, would be surprising and akin to the actual results of Assembly elections of Uttarakhand where the BJP government defied anti-incumbency to retain the state in early 2022.

That is because there is a clear presence of strong anti-incumbency sentiments in Himachal Pradesh where as many as 45.5 per cent of the respondents stated that they are angry with the state government and want it to be voted out.

Not very surprisingly, unemployment remains the most important electoral issue in the hill state. A massive 48.8 per cent of the respondents singled out unemployment as the most important issue. The lack of jobs that pay a decent income is clearly a source of anger for the voters of the hill state.

The opinion poll also throws up some surprising results. Compared to neighbouring state Punjab where it remains a big issue, only 4.4 per cent of respondents rate farmers issues as a problem. Besides, despite high rates of inflation persisting in the country since January 2022, only 2.3 per cent of the respondents singled it out as a serious issue.

Overall, the huge numbers for unemployment should be a matter of serious worry for the ruling BJP government. Yet, in the same opinion poll, 51.1 per cent of the respondents, irrespective of their party affiliations, stated that the BJP will retain power in the state. In almost all previous polls conducted by C Voter, a majority stating the ruling party will retain power actually becomes a reality.

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