An elderly voter is carried to a polling booth during sixth phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in Noida on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Even 25-metre-long queues and 40-50 minutes of waiting did not deter residents of Badalpur, the native village of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, from exercising their right to vote. Their enthusiasm was reflected in numbers as the turnout in the Dadri assembly seat, which includes Badalpur, went up from 42% in the last elections to 57%.
While a large number of villagers feel Badalpur was “a perfect example of development”, those affected by the land row say the high turnout was “a vote for change.”
A total of 243 hectares of land was acquired from about 1,000 farmers in Badalpur in 2008. During acquisition, farmers gheraoed the Greater Noida authority office, clashed with policemen and even threatened self-immolation. They said their land was acquired for industrial development but no projects in public interest were launched.
To date, the Greater Noida authority is only building two parks and a helipad, they said.
Along with farmers of Noida Extension, those in Badalpur also moved high court to get their land back. The Allahabad High Court in October last year ruled that land would remain with builders and farmers would get increased benefits.
But many farmers have now moved Supreme Court. The apex court has issued a notice to the state government asking it to explain why the high court order should not be quashed.
On the other hand, many still rally behind Mayawati. “Five years ago, Badalpur had no facilities. Now, we have concrete roads and a sewage system. We have two new hospitals and a university nearby. It’s a vote for development,” said young voter Amit Nagar.
Dadri has nearly 3.33 lakh voters. Only 60,000 come from urban sectors of Greater Noida. The fate of BSP’s sitting MLA Satbir Singh Gurjar, BJP’s former minister Nawab Singh Nagar, Congress’s Samir Bhati and Samajwadi Party’s Rajkumar Bhati has been locked in EVMs.