Power Games: Gig workforce is new battle zone for BJP, Cong
Rahul Gandhi brought the issue centrestage by riding pillion with a delivery boy from Blinkit e-commerce company in Bangalore during the Karnataka state election.
Gig workforce is new battle zone for BJP, Cong
The millions of workers involved in India’s gig economy, who are basically the on-call temporary workers such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, construction workers, etc, have come on the radar of political parties. The BJP took note of this segment of the population and the problems faced by it and brought in a Code on Social Security in 2020. This code consolidated nine Central labour laws and widened the definition of employee to provide the benefits of social security to the unorganised gig workers. A bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament to make this code a law.
The law, however, never came into force as the rules for its implementation were not framed. Meanwhile, the rise in the number of platform workers associated with the digital economy giants such as Amazon, Uber, Flipcart, etc gave rise to the demands from states that these companies provide for their Indian workers the same social security benefits that they give to the workers in other countries.
Rahul Gandhi brought the issue centrestage by riding pillion with a delivery boy from Blinkit e-commerce company in Bangalore during the Karnataka state election. The Congress government in Rajasthan became the first to announce a welfare fund of Rs 200 crore for gig workers in its Budget for 2023-24. Sources said other state governments are now busy drafting their own laws to provide security to their gig workforce. The central government too is reportedly moving fast to implement its 2020 code before the Lok Sabha election next year.
BJP undecided as JD(S) sends feelers for tie-up
The jury is out in the BJP on whether to join hands with the Janata Dal (Secular) which has sent many feelers to the party for an alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Former Prime Minister and JD(S) founder H D Deve Gowda recently said at a press conference that there is no party that has not done business with the BJP. He said this when asked if his party was planning to contest the next Lok Sabha election in alliance with the BJP. Gowda broke ranks with the opposition parties and attended the inauguration of the new Parliament building.
He has also stayed away from the efforts of the opposition parties to unite against the BJP in the next election. The JD(S) decision to look for a tieup with the BJP is a result of its dismal performance in the old Mysuru region, which was considered its stronghold. A large section of its traditional voters shifted to the Congress, which bagged 37 of the 59 assembly seats in the Vokkaliga-dominated south Karnataka. With deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar emerging as the new leader of Vokkaligas, the JD(S) leadership fears its revival would be a tough job.
It is, therefore, keen on an alliance with the BJP. In the BJP, however, there is a view that the JD(S) is on the verge of extinction and its demise would be more beneficial than its revival. The party sees an opportunity for Karnataka turning into a bipolar state. Sources in the BJP said the alliance with the JD(S) will not get them more seats as the JD(S) support lies in one pocket of the state which it will claim for itself. The BJP is, therefore, not overly eager for an alliance with the regional party.