By Ram Kumar Kaushik
Even beard can't hide restlessness and disappointment writ large on the face of Upen Yadav , a youth leader fighting for the cause of unemployed in Rajasthan. His organisation – Rajasthan Unemployed Integrated Federation – is the umbrella union of unemployed youth in the state fighting for their right to job.
The anxiety within Upen Yadav has propelled him to stage a one day fast on Thursday in front of the office of staff selection board demanding immediate rolling out of recruitment process and appointment of members and chairman of the board for uninterrupted recruitments.
Yadav is worried because the recruitment process has been stalled due to resignation of board's chairman Hari Prasad Sharma. This is likely to affect more than one lakh non-gazetted appointments, jeopardising prospects of 20 lakh aspirants who have been preparing for these tests for years. Sharma, a retired IPS, left the board two months before his scheduled retirement to try his luck in the upcoming assembly elections.
“The challenge is to fast track the result declaration of recruitment tests of firemen, forest guards and teachers, release of recruitment notification of animal attendants, junior instructors and other exams before the code of conduct. If these demands are not met, we will intensify our agitation,” warned Upen Yadav .
Long drawn struggle
Upen Yadav is the most trusted and cult figure among unemployed youth. For the last 11 years this 35-year old trained primary teacher ( DEl Ed ) has been on roads for the cause of unemployed who have suffered a lot in the ages of paper leaks and recruitment scams.
The popularity of Upen Yadav is such that he has close to one million followers on twitter and half a million on facebook .
“I want to trudge a difficult path. Getting a job for self is easier than facilitating jobs for thousands of aspirants who are on an endless wait due to mistakes and mischiefs of others,” said Upen Yadav while preparing for the last push before the code of conduct is enforced ahead of assembly polls.
The journey so far
For a youngster from a small village near Manoharpur, 50 kms from the state capital Jaipur, fighting with government for streamlining the recruitment processes was a herculean task.
Upen Yadav called upon unemployed youngsters like him, sensitised them, staged dharna protests and even endured beating from police on his mission to provide justice for jobless.
For that he not travelled across Rajasthan but went to other states also like Uttar Pradesh, Delhi Gujarat to raise voice for creating ample job opportunities and making the recruitment process cleaner and transparent.
Upen Yadav's protest at Congress office at Lucknow during Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and his foot march to Ahmedabad during Gujarat polls put pressure on the state government, which resulted in completion of long pending recruitments.
“In last 11 years, my untiring selfless struggle has resulted in facilitating jobs to over 2.5 lakh people in the state. It gives me immense satisfaction. But my job is not over yet,” said Upen Yadav , who also wants to teach poor children through his newly found NGO – Bhagyaoday – from next year.
Taking agitation from roads to assembly
Is Upen Yadav planning to contest elections to take up his fight in assembly?
“We will decide in September on this. But one thing is for sure that I will quit the post of president and hand over this Federation to someone worthy. I want to spend more time on teaching destitute children and my NGO from next January,” said Upen Yadav without disclosing much on his poll plan.
Ram Kumar Kaushik is a seasoned journalist with over 25 years of experience across mediums. The architect of this news website, he is also a consultant with several media groups. He was formerly the group managing editor of ITV Network (NewsX, India News and The Sunday Guardian) and its digital products.