The forgotten villages of Bhatta & Parsaul

Kela Devi

A year on Before Assembly polls, all political parties were here making promises. Now villagers have no power, water

Nine months separated the violent farmer agitation in Bhatta and Parsaul in May 2011 and the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in February 2012. The period saw the villagers allege police brutality, senior government officials being shot at by protesting villagers and Rahul Gandhi enter the village on a motorcycle at 4 in the morning. A number of media vans were a permanent sight near the villages, putting Bhatta and Parsaul in the spotlight even as it turned a political battlefield.

Once the violence abated and the Assembly polls drew nearer, each political party made the people of Bhatta and Parsaul their priority.

Radhe Shyam Singh, a resident of Bhatta village, said, "The candidates made sure we did not lack anything — perhaps, to make up for what happened in our villages. Congress candidate Dhirendra Singh provided water tankers for us. We used to get electricity supply for close to 14 hours a day and if we ever got less than that, all we had to do was call the workers of the BSP candidate, and the power supply would be restored. They used to come and tell us that our men, who are in jail, were fine and would be let out soon."

However, a year later, Bhatta and Parsaul seemed to have slipped off everyone's mind— and priority list. Singh said, "No water tankers come anymore. We can't ask Dhirendra Singh to send them as he lost the elections. Ever since the results were declared, he hasn't come to the village once."

Water, however, isn't the biggest problem for the residents of the two villages — electricity is. "We can survive without water tankers as there are canals and handpumps in the area. But the power situation has never been this bad. We get power supply for four hours a day, from 12 to 4 in the afternoon," said Mahesh Chaudhary, pradhan of the village.

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