Digambar Gulhane, whose brother committed suicide due to debt, sharing the stage with Narendra Modi when the latter had held ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ on March 20, 2014, before the elections to address farmers’ problems in Dabhadi village.
Pune: Two villages from Maharashtra have decided to boycott the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as no political party have solved their basic civic issues for over two decades. One of the village is Dabhadi in Yavatmal district, where Narendra Modi had held a programme called ‘Chai Pe Charcha (Discussion over Tea)’ before the 2014 elections promising to solve the farmers’ problems. But even after five years, the village is in the same situation where they were before.
It should be noted that both the villages are in constituencies where the sitting MPs are from BJP, and even the sarpanches also belong to the ruling party.
The Issues in Dabhadi Village
Dabhadi village in Arni taluka of Yavatmal district has a population of over 4,000 and majority of them are farmers. The village falls under Chandrapur Lok Sabha constituency and Hansraj Ahir, who is also the Union Home Minister for the state, is the MP.
Digambar Gulhane, former sarpanch of the village told NewsClick, “No development work has been taken up in the village in the last five years. All villagers wanted the administration to build a bridge joining the village to the village temple that is located two kilometres away. Due to absence of the bridge, villagers have to face problems to reach the temple in monsoon.”
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He added that the villagers had met Ahir and the local administration many times and had also given letters requesting for the bridge.
Gulhane, whose brother committed suicide due to debt, had shared the stage with Narendra Modi when the latter had held ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ on March 20, 2014, before elections to address farmers’ problems. Modi had also interacted with farmers from 23 states on video call from Dabhadi.
Thus, Gulhane said, the villagers had hopes that they would get good rates for their farm produce as well. He said, “Our major crop is cotton. We did not get good rates for our cotton crop in the last five years. Hence, over 500 villagers have come together and issued the statement that they will not vote in this election. We have given the letter to police officer on March 21.”
However, later Mangala Dhakate from BJP gave a statement to the media that no such decision has been made and development works have been going on in the village. But, Milind Bageshwar, another former sarpanch said, “Dhakate belongs to the BJP, and that is why she is denying. But over 500 villagers have already given a letter to the police officials at Arni Taluka.”
NewsClick tried to reach Hansraj Ahir for his comments but his phone was switched off.
Itaki in Amaravati District
Residents of Itaki village in Daryapur taluka of Amaravati district have also decided to boycott elections as the bridge, that connects the village to the bus stand has been broken for the last 30 years and no government has tried to reconstruct it. The village has a population of 2,000. Anandrao Adsul of Shiv Sena is the MP of Amaravati constituency under which Itaki falls.
Srikrishna Chavan, one of the residents, said, “Itaki is connected to the bus stand and other part of the village by a road of 1.5 kms. The canal flows perpendicular to the road and earlier, there were two bridges above the canal. Both the bridges were damaged 30 years ago and nobody has tried to rebuild it since.”
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He added, “During the monsoon every year, at least for 30 days when there is heavy rain, the road is submerged in water. You can fathom the size of the canal by the fact that there is a dam on the same canal 8 kms from here. Kids studying in Eighth standard and above cannot go to school as their schools and colleges are in Daryapur. Patients have to suffer as they cannot go to doctors. We must have given hundreds of letters to all departments and MLAs but to no use. Finally, we have decided to boycott the election.”
When NewsClick approached Anandrao Adsul for his comments on the situation of the village, he refused to comment.