The residents of Jamdhana, Madhya Pradesh are abstaining from voting in the elections this year. They are saying, “Road nahi toh Vote nahi.”
Lok Sabha elections are scheduled in India from April 11th to May 19th. Respective parties are ready will their well-constructed manifestos for the next five years. Now when people are presumed to vote, families in Bhodiyapani village are adamant that, if the roads in their village are not constructed they will not vote this year.
“Ministers come here and ask us for votes, and other things but we don't want to vote for anyone. Only when we get a road, we will vote else we will definitely not vote”, says Gajrasi Bharti, from Bhodyapani village. Last year the Government of Madhya Pradesh and World Bank signed a $210 million loan agreement for the Madhya Pradesh Rural connectivity project. This project was to improve rural connectivity. It covered 10,510 Km stretch of rural road in Madhya Pradesh, under Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) programme.
Moreover, in 2017-18 budget Centre allocated Rs 19,000 crore for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). It claims to connect almost 85% of eligible rural habitation through all-weather roads under PMGSY. It is imperative to implement plans for sustainable transportation if we are seeking to connect the rural population into the mainstream. Failing to do so leads to scenarios where people feel betrayed and start losing faith in the ruling government. Similarly, the residents of Bhodiyapani, have tried to express their resentment against political parties and are boycotting elections. “We have written so many applications to the politicians. They take our applications, tell us that it’ll be done, make a fool out of us and take the votes”, said Pyarelal Bharti, from Bhodiyapani, Madhya Pradesh.
In just 4 days from now, phase-wise elections will begin. While BJP released their ‘Sankalp Patra’ (BJP manifesto) where Rs 100 lakh crore investment is in infrastructure in the next five years. For years now, during every election politicians come, give speeches and promise development. In return they demand vote. This is not the first time, promises are being made, and then, none are kept.
Video by Community Correspondent Raju Parteti
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a member of the VV editorial team