Perks - and predicament - of being a power base

Collective fate of people in Mulayam’s hometown is linked to the leader’s political fortunes

ajay

Ajay Singh | March 3, 2014



There is an uncanny similarity between Agra and Mulayam Singh Yadav's hometown Jaswant Nagar. Both lie on the golden quadrilateral highway project that connects different parts of the country. Agra had found its patron in emperor Akbar while Jaswant Nagar can easily boast of the same status for Yadav.


With his hometown barely 100 km from Agra, Yadav has learnt certain lessons from the Mughals. Like emperors of the medieval India, he has no hesitation in spending public money on building palatial houses, big buildings including an airport that can accommodate Boeing planes and earmarking a ravine forest area for lion safari.

The twin cities of Fatehpur Sikri and Agra were rough and arid terrain with shortage of potable water, but they received abundant water through means that were exploitative and caused human sufferings. In Jaswant Nagar too indices of development could easily match, if not surpass, the most developed parts of the country. The township has many degree colleges, a top-class super-speciality hospital and round-the-clock power supply.

Does that invest Yadav with an aura of invincibility? Obviously, Yadav and his clan have no threat in their pocket boroughs in Etawah, Mainpuri, Budain and certain adjoining areas. Since people of the area feel themselves to be privileged citizens on account of their association with the Yadav family, there is a sense of empowerment among voters. They do not look for an option. In fact, there is none.

But there is a constant lurking fear among people. If Mulayam Singh Yadav's party loses the next elections, the area would lose its VIP status. In the past whenever Mayawati came to power, people here bore the brunt of her political anger. “We hardly had power supply during those times,” said Kripa Shankar who runs a roadside tea stall on the highway.

Even a casual visit to Jaswant Nagar would confirm the privileged status of the township. Yet it brings out an irony of Indian politics where an individual's position determines the collective fate of society. Nothing brings out that irony more clearly than the highway that connects Agra and Jaswant Nagar. Akbar abandoned Fatehpur Sikri, once the capital of his empire, in favour of Agra for logistical reasons. Agra enjoyed the privileged position for nearly a century before Delhi replaced it.

At the moment Agra, despite the presence of the monument of love Taj Mahal, appears to be an urban mess. The internal roads that link the city's interior with the highway are in utter disrepair. Dust and pollution envelops the township which was once most powerful centre of India in the medieval times. In sharp contrast, Jaswant Nagar presents a picture of well laid-out township with all facilities neatly planned to help people. The inherent tragedy in this story is that this hubris of Jaswant Nagar would be short-lived.
 

Comments

 

Other News

BJP lawmakers top the list in hate speech cases

Out of all MPs and MLAs in office, 58 have declared cases related to hate speech. This includes union minister for drinking water and sanitation Uma Bharti along with 14 other Lok Sabha MPs. The list also includes 8 state ministers. A party wise analysis reveals that BJP has the highest numb

After its withdrawal from Meghalaya and Arunachal, is it time to review AFSPA in other areas too?

After its withdrawal from Meghalaya and Arunachal, is it time to review AFSPA in other areas too?

Togadia, Sinha and anti-Modi prejudices masked by empty rhetoric

There is an uncanny similarity in the pathological opposition to prime minister Narendra Modi by two members of the right wing, Pravin Togadia and Yashwant Sinha. They come from a diverse social and political background; yet they share a common strand that shows an unmitigated hatred towards

“We are becoming American digital colonies”

Data is the new oil; and it needs to be protected. In an interaction with Governance Now, Lionel Baraban, CEO of Famoco, talks about how the French tech firm is developing secure business devices to safeguard data against going to other countries. What are the major roles o

Goa Shipyard and MTU, Germany to manufacture MTU engines in India

Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and MTU, Germany have agreed to cooperate in the  local manufacturing of technologically-advanced MTU series 8000 engines in India. Under the agreement, which was signed at India’s leading defence trade show Defexpo-18, the companies will manufacture the 16-

ONGC employees bag 13 medals at the Gold Coast CWG

ONGC sportspersons outshone other participants in their respective categories in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. ONGCians bagged 13 medals including 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze, contributing to the 66 medal tally of Team India. ONGCians Ragala Venkat Rah

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter