Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
More than 2,000 villagers in Bihar’s Jamui threatened to boycott Lok Sabha elections due to poor road, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned there. On Thursday, April 4, Dabil village residents took to the streets with placards saying “Jab Tak Road Nahi, Tab Tak Vote Nahi (No road, no vote).”
Chirag Paswan, son of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan, will be contesting in the first phase on April 11. In 2014, he won with a margin of more than 85,000 votes. Jamui is the parliamentary constituency of Chirag Paswan.
According to enraged villagers, several leaders from different parties over the time have promised to build good roads, but nothing has really been done till date. Keeping all this in mind, the villagers decided that not a single person will cast his or her vote unless they are given proper roads, the absence of which is a huge problem for them especially during the monsoons.
“Thousands of people are currently living in the village but no one will cast a single vote until proper roads are built…All of us have pledged that ‘Jab Tak Road Nahi, Tab Tak Vote Nahi (No vote till there is no road).’ We will not vote in any election – parliamentary or assembly polls – until roads are constructed,” said resident Bharat Mandal.
Mira, another resident of Jamui, claimed that while children and women have to face a lot of difficulty due to lack of proper roads, pregnant women are the ones who suffer the most.
PM Modi, while campaigning in the reserved constituency for NDA ally Chirag Paswan, said that more time was needed to complete the work he has started. He said that he does not claim to have finished all the work; if Congress cannot say the same in 70 years, he could not possibly make the claim in only five years.
“A lot has to be done, have potential to do a lot, and for this, there is a need for constant efforts…I also need your blessings,” PM Modi said at the rally.
Attaching the Congress, PM Modi said that terrorism, prices, violence, corruption, black money escalate when it is in power, and the country’s credibility and prosperity, respect for honesty and the armed forces’ morale declines.
Slamming PM Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, NDA rival and Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav questioned how a Prime Minister could talk about such “meaningless things” in a rally, instead of addressing issues related to jobs, farmers, labourers or development. “We thought Modi ji will come and talk about schemes for Bihar,” he said.
Previously too, ‘No road, no vote’ has been a way for villagers to ask for their basic rights. Arunachal Pradesh has been a topic of discussion for failing to extend road connectivity to many parts of the state. Earlier, after several demands of villagers from many parts of the state was ignored by those in power, they decided to resort to ‘no road, no vote” policy. They simply withheld participation in the process that would place anyone in the position of power. After the ‘no road, no vote’ campaign continued over a year, a 65-km road has finally been sanctioned by the state’s rural works department under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. A similar movement was held in Hyderabad’s Ameenpur because of the deplorable condition of the roads.
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