Two prominent leaders of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) have been offered Rs 10,000 by villagers of Bagholwa in Uttar Pradesh's Allahabad district, to visit their village. Ajay Kumar is the MLA of the area, Rewati Raman Singh the MP, and the villagers say they have not seen either of them since the party won a huge majority on the promise of good governance in the Assembly elections early this year.
"The MLA, MP and the District Magistrate none of them have visited this village. If they come to our village then all villagers have collected 10,000 Rupees which we will give them if they ever show up. They have never turned up after they were elected," said Lallu ram, a villager.
If the two SP men decide to collect the cash incentive on offer, they will first have to navigate roads with pot-holes so large they discourage people from going in and out of the village. The villagers say during the rains, the road is washed away and the Yamuna river swells and is difficult to cross. People in the village are thus cut off completely from the rest of the area. Students are unable to go out, teachers cannot come to the village and even people who are unwell cannot be taken for better medical care than is available in the village.
"We face a lot of trouble, many people can't reach our village. Our request to the MLAs is that there should be proper roads so that development can reach our village. The MLA should come to our village and we have pooled in Rs 10,000 for him. This is only for the roads. There was a lady Chief Development Officer (Of Allahabad district), she had walked down to our village, seen its plight and then got the road constructed. But after that no one else has come. The MLA had come 6 months ago during elections, but why will he come now? So let the MLA come, let the MP come, let the Chief Minister come, let the Prime Minister come. Whoever visits we will collect money and give it to them," said Kamlakar Singh, another villager.
The offer to the SP leaders is a formal one - the village panchayat has put notices all over the village on this.
"There is a main road, but the access road to the village is cut off due to rains. Now only a bridge can be built to connect the village with a road. We too could not bring our vehicle here," said Hriday Rampal, Assitant Development Officer, Rural Cooperative Society.
The villagers say that after many petitions for better roads and civic amenities have failed to move the government, it is in desperation now that they have begun collecting money to lure their representatives to the village and see their plight. They are also unsure whether Rs 10,000 is enough incentive for the political leaders and say they are contemplating increasing the cash offer.