Modi's Varanasi is in shambles, but people will back him
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi, you would find no hint of "Swachh Bharat" or "Smart City", revealing to you the sad truth that the hyped campaigns of the NDA government at the Centre remain a farce. And if this be the case in the most VIP constituency of the country, it would not be difficult to imagine what to expect in tier two cities or smaller towns.
The holy city will unpleasantly surprise you with its bumpy roads, open garbages, naked wires hanging in congested streets and the bizarre scene of cows roaming all around. The YSN team toured many areas of the city, only to be disappointed that tall talk by BJP'S central leaders and the PM himself are yet to be executed.
In Particular, the Daulatpur Road was dirty and intervalled
frequently with potholes. Both sides of the road were littered with wastes and there was no municipal staff in sight. In many places, construction material of private houses were spread well into the middle of the road, obstructing traffic, and sardonically announcing to you the complete lack of administration.
In Lalpur road, the YSN team found most shopkeepers sweeping their individual places and brushing off the dirt to a nearby lampost or into the adjoining open drains, in what seemed like an unwitting rebellion to PM'S ambitious call for "Swachh Bharat". Open cowsheds dotted the place, with cow-dung and cow-urine spread intermittently across the road, making the pedestrians struggle to walk.
At the outskirts, in the main road that you would take to visit Azamgarh, your journey will be rough and patchy. Frequent jerks will trouble you; some of them so hard that your stationary items or office files kept in the seat would fall down each time.
In Muslim dominated pockets like Doshipura and Lallapura, the situation is worse. The place will strike you with its open drains and unkempt roads. It seemed as if the municipal staff rarely visits the area. All basic infrastructural facilities that you might expect in a VIP district are missing totally. The lanes are congested and streetlights are nowhere to be found. "Ya h a to aisa hi hai, koi khabarlenebhinahiaata. Things are like this only. Nobody comes to enquire about our difficulties," said a middle-aged woman who resides in Doshipura.
In most of the main localities, including the well knownsigra or Tilaiyabagh that is a couple of kilometres away, you would not spot traffic police. Many of the traffic lighting systems—if they are present at all—are dysfunctional. The Ganges banks itself is unclean and not much has been done to develop it into a heritage attraction, contrary to what the PM had vowed to do.
Yet, surprising as it may seem, you would find a great number of Modi supporters. In the main vegetable market in Lahtara locality, most of the vegetable shop owners, peddlers and snack-shop owners told this team that they will vote for the BJP candidates in the Assembly elections in the name of PM Modi. "Teeno seat Modi kojayenge. Hinduokaektarfa vote Moikojayega. All three seats will go to Modi. Hindus will unite and back the Prime Minister," said a man in his 40s who was also an advocate.
"Modi ka lahar hai. It's a wave for Modi,' quipped a housewife who was buying grocery in a store in Tilayabagh. However, BJP insiders say that barring Varanasi North, the BJP is in for a tough competition from the Sp-congress alliance both in Varanasi South and Varanasi Cantonment. The Prime Minister's constituency has three Assembly seats—varanasi North, Varanasi South and Varanasi Cantonment. All three have incumbent BJP MLAS, but ticket distribution has been faulty in Varanasi South where seventime MLA Shyamdeo Roy Choudhary, popular among the locals as Dada, has been replaced by a novice Neelkanthtripathy who lacks public connect.
"South ka seat atakgayahai. Shayad Congress jeetjaye. The BJP may not be able to win Varanasi South. Probably, the Congress will," said a BJP war-room insider, refusing to be quoted. The Congress has given ticket to Rajesh Kumar Mishra in Varanasi South who has previously been an MP from the PM'S seat. All three constituencies vote on March 8. Results across Uttar Pradesh will be announced on March 11.