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|September 17, 1999||
Rural electorate plans to boycott polls in Lucknow
The fact that Prime Minister A B Vajpayee is contesting from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has generated much interest in the locals. But the situation is different in the rural areas of the constituency where some people plan to boycott the election.
While the face of Lucknow city may have changed by the virtue of being the prime minister's constituency, the people of the surrounding areas feel they have been neglected, as far as development is concerned.
One such example is Mahona, about 30 km from Lucknow, which has about 15,000 voters. The people there have been demanding basic amenities for a long time, but to no avail. The disgruntled electorate has now decided to boycott the Lok Sabha poll.
Banners reading 'No development, no vote' can be seen in many places in the constituency. The 3,000 voters of Pan Dariba on the Lucknow-Kanpur road in the constituency are also boycotting the election, claiming no development has been done in their area.
Residents of Mahona, cutting across party lines, have constituted an 'election boycott committee', which comprises members of various political parties. Kallu Chaudhary of the Bahujan Samaj Party is the president of the panel, while Umesh Chandra Pandey of the Bharatiya Janata Party is the convener and Mohammad Salim of the Samajwadi Party is the joint secretary.
All the people are one on the boycott issue and demand developmental schemes for the area.
Mahona, a tehsil headquarter, was a flourishing town before Independence but conditions have deteriorated over time.
A junior school building in the town housing about 300 students, is on the verge of collapsing. A family welfare centre established a decade ago is occupied by cattle by day and gamblers by night. There are no telephone connections in the area.
Though there are three schools in Mahona, they are all in a bad condition; the girls have to go to Itaunja to study.
Vajpayee had visited the area some time ago along with the then governor Motilal Vora and promised to get a health centre built. But it is still to materialise though local people had offered land for the centre.
The electorate, especially those in the rural areas of Lucknow constituency, feels it is got a bad deal, considering the 'development' in constituences Amethi, where prime ministers have won earlier.
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