24 November, 2020

'Development Is Sexy'

As elections issues go, no party can forego economic growth now. Is it an idea whose time has come? Or will it be back to populism, post-poll?

'Development Is Sexy'
Some 20 km away from UP's majestic Vidhan Sabha, on the road to IIM, Lucknow, which churns out the highest number of management grads changing corporations at home and abroad, is a long row of jhuggis housing 500-600 people. Mostly Dalits and/or Muslims, they started out seven years ago from districts like Sitapur or even from around Kanpur in search of a better livelihood. They still haven't been able to reach the city that's nurtured Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, the BJP's vikas purush, for 15 years.

Most of them also don't have the ticket to vote. "Twice they came and took Rs 10 from us but no ration card yet. Behenji, aap dila do card, hum aapko vote de denge (Sister, you get us the card, we'll give you our votes)," says 30-going-on-50 Hasina. Her husband works in a city shop for 10 hours a day and Rs 900 a month. No attendance, no pay. But even on leave days, there's five mouths to feed.

In comparison, Ehsaan Ahmed is rich. He drives a private car, wears a clean checked lungi and puts oil on his hair. Pockets Rs 2,400 or so at month-end. And he's wisely...


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