Chandaur Village In Banda, Bundelkhand Pledges To Boycott UP
Almost all the 4,500 residents of Chandaur, a small village
in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, are gathered in front of the primary
school to discuss the assembly elections in the state, but within minutes it
turns into a full-fledged protest. The villagers are angry with the lotus, the
hand, the cycle, the elephant and every other symbol that represents a political
party. None, they say, have done any work for them. The sitting MLA here, is
from the Bahujan Samaj Party.
One by one, villagers take the microphone, their voices
filled with anguish and anger at an electoral process which they feel merely
exploits their vote. Their message now - Chandaur will not vote.
Anand Kumar, a young daily wager says for years young men in
this village have struggled to get an education. When they do get an education,
they don't get jobs. Like Shiv Bodhan, who is in his thirties and has a Masters
degree in Arts but is unemployed. "What's the point of our degrees when to get
jobs you need to have money to bribe people? Politicians tell us they will focus
on the youth but our ears have tired of listening to these lies," Bodhan says,
adding, "We don't have a job, they don't have a vote."
Malkhan Lal, who works on farms and as labour, thrusts a
sheaf of papers at us to show how many court cases are pending here. "We're from
a poor village in Bundelkhand, so no judge, no lawyer is interested in us or our
cases. Whether it is about land or about the identification required for ration
cards, we have been fighting just to get our basic entitlements. Yet each
elections, like mules we would go to vote. No more."