Amethi: Pramod Tiwari, 26, travels to Raebareli from Gauriganj in Amethi everyday as he failed in finding a job in his home district.
Tiwari, a tally operator who is still preparing for a government job comes from a family of farmers who had to give away their land for the Samrat Cycle Factory, where production was never started.
Talking to NewsClick on his way from Raebareli to Amethi, Tiwari says that the parliamentary constituency of Amethi is cursed and it might never see any development. “With every passing day, it seems that our city is becoming a bone of contention not just for Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also for the local people of the city. The city which should have become a model of development being the parliamentary constituency of India’s oldest political family is lacking development and youths of the city really do not have any hope left with any government,” he says, adding that most of the youth have either moved to Lucknow or to Allahabad, in order to have a better standard of life.
The young tally operator says that his family received some amount of compensation for giving land to the cycle factory. They were also hopeful that some members of the family would get jobs in that factory once production starts, but he says, “Till date not even a single nut has been attached to bolt in the unit which is on the verge of falling apart any day.”
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“It has been the constituency of VIPs since the last four decades but if you compare it with other cities, you will find Amethi is nothing more than a village. A place around which the politics of India revolves does not have enough units to recruit the local youth,” Tiwari adds.
Venting out his anger, the young voter says it is the fault of Indian public which is very emotional and chooses a Neta (leader) on his/her celebrity image and not on the basis of work. “Amethi has been voting for the Congress since the last four decades, while BJP has been ruling in the state for the last two years but nothing has changed here. It is yet to become Tokyo, Kyoto or Singapore. Our fathers and elderly members vote for the Congress thinking that Amethi is on the world map because of them but what is the use of being on the world map when your city lacks development and is being neglected post elections,” he added.
Rohit Verma, a 23-year-old NDA aspirant, who travels to and fro from Amethi to Raebareli everyday for coaching classes says it would have been better if Amethi had chosen a leader of some other party as some development work would have been done then.
“People of Saifai, Mainpuri, Varanasi and even Ayodhya are far more lucky as these constituencies have seen some kind of development work but Amethi has only been receiving Jumlas, fight between Rahul and Smriti Irani, and parachute media coming from different parts of the world,” he says.
Verma further said that, earlier the youth had some hope with Amethi, but now everyone is running behind politicians and no one actually cares about development.
Vivek Vikram Singh, a veteran journalist from Amethi says, “Ummeed par duniya tiki hui hai. Kya pata ek chirag kabhi Amethi me bhi jale. (The world rests on hope. Maybe, someday Amethi will also see the light of development.)”
“If we take stock of the history of Amethi in the last five decades, we will find that over 100 development projects, including setting up of factories and others were granted to Amethi by the government in the Centre but only a three or four schemes are actually working. This is also the case with Raebareli, which is the parliamentary constituency of Congress matriarch Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
He further said that every election season, the issue of development is raised and people just get to see the blame game by politicians in return.
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When NewsClick questioned Priyanka Gandhi about the lack of development, the Congress’s East UP in-charge who was on campaign trail, accused the BJP government in the Centre for being biased towards Amethi as a part of conspiracy for the last five years. She, however, managed to skip the question when confronted about the work done before BJP came to power in the Centre.
On the other hand, Smriti Irani has been continuously accusing Gandhi for neglecting Amethi.
It may be mentioned that the battle of Amethi will be the most keenly watched contest as Smriti Irani is taking on Rahul Gandhi for the second time. The Gathbandhan did not file any candidate on this seat.
A Congress bastion, Amethi has been represented by several members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, including former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In fact, parties other than the Congress have represented Amethi only for two brief spells in a 52-year period beginning in 1967. The last time Amethi had a BJP MP was in 1998-99.
Amethi goes to poll on May 6.