WB panchayat polls: Many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip?

WB panchayat polls: Many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip?
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Midnapore: Ahead of the West Bengal panchayat elections, voters are claiming that they are deprived of the Centre’s prominent schemes such as Ujjwala Yojana (gas connection) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (house) to name a few.
Voters are of the view that they would keep development in mind before they exercise their electoral franchise.

Scheduled Tribe (ST) voters Asha Chalak and Sibu Chalak said that they neither have a proper house to live nor basic facilities.

Both told ANI, “We don’t have a house to stay. We live in a mud house using a tarpaulin to protect it from rains. We will cast our votes to those who give promise us to build a good house.”

Explaining her problem in running the household, Asha said, “We don’t have any gas connection. I cook food by using kerosene. I don’t have a kitchen and I always have to cook food outside, whether it is hot or raining. There are so many problems. I want a good home so that we can stay inside with our children.”

Sibu also echoed Asha’s problems and said neither the Trinamool Congress (TMC) nor the Communist Party of India (CPI-M) provided homes for the poor.

Sibu said, “We don’t have anything at all, be it gas or a proper house to stay. Even the roads are damaged. I can’t drive my motorcycle through that road. The CPI (M) and TMC had promised us houses, but we didn’t get anything.”
A local, Arati Chalak, further said that she would only vote for that party who would think about her.

“I don’t have a proper house. There is no gas and bathroom also. I will only cast my vote for those who will think about me,” she said.

Mahadeb Chalak, another villager, shared his problems, saying, “We collect wood from the forest and cook our food.

We are in a difficult situation. We want a gas connection, as I cannot keep on going to the forest to collect wood since I am old. Many areas have got a gas connection, but we didn’t get it in our area. There are more than 100 houses like mine which are covered with tarpaulin only.”

A villager, Mirza Nisar Hussain, claimed that the roads and drains were in a bad connection and demanded development of their village area in Midnapore.

The panchayat polls, which were earlier due to take place between May 1 and May 7, will now be held on May 14, following violence-related incidents between the TMC and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadres.

Three TMC workers were injured in a clash which broke out between the cadres of the two parties on May 8 in Gosaba village of South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal.

A TMC worker alleged that some BJP workers had attacked their three party cadres. after a BJP meeting over panchayat elections in the state. Following the clash, more than 30 houses of BJP workers were allegedly vandalised by the TMC workers on May 9.

Last month, six policemen were injured in a BJP-TMC clash at Usti in South 24 Parganas district over the filing of nominations for the panchayat elections.

The division bench of the Calcutta High Court said on Thursday that the West Bengal government would be held responsible for any loss of life or property in the run-up to the panchayat elections. (ANI)