Lucknow/Agra - The Samajwadi Party's (SP) biggest election sop - Rs.1,000 a month to every unemployed person till age 35 - has turned out to be a nightmare for law enforcing agencies in Uttar Pradesh.
With serpentine queues outside Employment Exchanges across the state, mobs have made life difficult for district authorities.
Monday saw a record turnout of young men and women to avail of the 'berozgaari bhatta' (unemployment allowance). To keep the overzealous hopefuls at bay, police used batons in Moradabad.
Extra security forces were called in Lucknow to keep the surging crowds from breaking the gates at the Lalbagh Employment Exchange.
Traffic was hit in the vicinity of the office. The online registration of unemployed was stalled due to overload. By evening, the system crashed.
Anil Kumar, director of Employment and Training, told IANS that efforts were on to get the system back on rails and to increase the load.
Rajendra Chowdhary, the lone SP spokesperson, told IANS that the behaviour of the police and mismanagement at Employment Exchanges was deplorable.
He asked officials to refrain from using lathis.
"The large turnout at such places is reflective of the mood of confidence in the young minds of UP towards the SP poll promises," he added.
On Monday alone, more than 10,000 plus employment forms had disappeared into the crowds and 8,657 names were registered.
In Varanasi, the capacity crowds forced the employment officials to open six counters while so far only two functioned.
Ravi Shekhar Anand, the employment officer in Varanasi, said they would be opening 10 counters from Tuesday.
Similar situations have been reported from Azamgarh and Agra. More police force was summoned.
There was similar chaos in centres like Kannauj, Chitrakoot, Banda, Ramabai Nagar, Orai, Hameerpur and Kanpur.
The SP, which won 224 of the 403 assembly seats, promised in its manifesto that all unemployed in the state under age 35 would get Rs.12,000 annually till they are not given employment by the
This scheme was in place in the Mulayam Singh government till 2007 also but the 'bhatta' at that time was Rs.500 a month. When Mayawati rode back to power in 2007, she cancelled the scheme.
"To be eligible to get the allowance, one has to get registered at the Employment Exchange," said young graduate Kiran on Fatehabad Road in Agra.
Until the other day, the Employment Exchange wore a deserted look. "Now it presents the scene of a fair," one man said.
The queues on Tuesday spilled over to the Mahatma Gandhi Road in Agra.
Agra officer in charge Rajiv Yadav told IANS: "We have opened more counters and streamlined the system to speed up the process of registration."
The crowds at Employment Exchanges in Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Mainpuri and other districts began to swell after Holi, two days after the Uttar Pradesh election result emerged March 6.
"Even mothers with kids are lining up. The pressure will continue to mount as no one wants to be left out from the benevolence of the ruling party," said a stall owner outside the Agra exchange.
The SP made 15 election promises including free power to farmers, waiving off loans, and laptops and tablets to students.