Sunday, January 16, 2011

Todays update- Yatra to reach Amethi in one hour

Day 5

The rashtriya Ekta Yatra by BJYM and led by Anurag Thakur has left varanasi and is reaching Amethi shortly.

The total Rural Population of Amethi is 83299 and the literacy rate is 39.5%.

The question looms in Amethi, a seat that has passed hands from one family member to another, down four generations and six decades. And when Rahul traversed the nation to “discover India”, as the media dubs it, in planes, trains and helicopters—to Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka—many here watched bitterly.

“Rahul is the name and fame of Amethi but the ground level work is zero,” said Ram Singh Raghuvanshi, an advocate and mango farmer. “Rahul Gandhi is making a tour of India, playing cricket with children, distributing toffees. It is all a political drama. That will not help the people of Amethi.”

In many ways, Amethi’s concerns reflect much of the nation’s. Have party leaders lived up to their promise of uplifting the poor? Or, have they perpetuated corruption, mismanagement of programmes and tussles with state governments?

Remind the locals of their good fortune, though, and they will readily lead you off Amethi’s main drags to muddied bylanes where even jeeps struggle to pass.

Devi Prasad Soni will present a dozen photocopied concession certificates certifying his son Dharmendra, 21, as blind. He now needs a job.

Ram Kripal Gupta, who owns a tea shop, will ask whether getting a Delhi Public School franchise is possible here. He adds that the power cuts are unbearable.

And Sunil Kumar Soni, 19, will ask you to write down his roll number—7565—and see if you can get him into the Footwear Design and Development Institute nearby.

Rahul Gandhi’s father, Rajiv, they say, was better. But pressed to detail exactly why, they grow silent. “The railway station,” offers Gupta.

“He built a blanket factory,” adds Raghuvanshi. “Oh, but it closed down.”

Raghuvanshi then recounts his meeting with Rahul Gandhi that morning. “The answer was not to my satisfaction. When someone is asking for a job, you don’t say ‘We’ll see.’”

What do you say?

Raghuvanshi has no answer. The road in front of his 15-acre mango grove is also quite smooth. “Oh that,” he says, dismissively, “that was given to us by Mayawati.”

His reference is to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. But sure enough, as night falls, Amethi remains dark, houses lit by flickering candles.


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