24x7 power = a meaningful vote


Dahiben Bordat is busy separating the chaff from the seed of a stack of dried guar beans (cluster beans) at her home in Kadwa Dungri village in Sabarkantha. A pedestal fan running on a power connection taken from the main village supply line makes her job easy.

Her three young girls, wearing leggings and lycra tops, sit on a charpoy studying from a Gujarati-medium book. Dahiben, a farm labourer, lost her husband four years ago and has four daughters and two sons of which one son and two daughters are married.

"There is power in my village, but not in my house. So I have taken a connection from the line. What else can I do?" she says, as her mobile phone tucked in the waist rings. After the phone call, she says, "I am just a farm labourer, and am struggling to feed my children."

Ask her what mobile phone she uses and she says, "Vodafone", adding that she charges it in her brother's house next door.

Kadwa Dungri is a typical village of Garasia tribes in Bhiloda taluka of Sabarkantha, with homes far apart. Dahiben belongs to the same tribe.

Almost decided who she will vote for, she says, "Modi has increased my widow pension to Rs 650 per month, but the post office people take away Rs 30 every time I go to collect it."

The sentiment differs from house to house. Even in the remotest village, power connections have provided televisions and mobile phones.

Ranchhodbhai Garasia has five acres of farmland where he grows maize, wheat and cotton. He lives with his wife Puspha and their newborn child in a semi-pucca house. Ask him about development and he says, "I have built my house and done my own development, what has Modi done? We got power supply in the house only about six months back," he says, adding Modi had come to Bhiloda to campaign a few days back.

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