Demonetisation: Born in bank queue, Khazanchi gets pre-birthday gift from former UP CM Akhilesh
In the run up to the state assembly elections earlier this year, the SP leader narrated the story of the child’s birth in most of his public meetings .india Updated: Nov 09, 2017 20:04 IST
Less than a month into demonetisation last year, a widow Sarvesha Devi was waiting for her turn for five hours in a bank queue of nearly 500 people in Kanpur Dehat on December 2 when she went into labour.
Her mother Shashi Devi took her to a corner, where she delivered a boy. He was named Khazanchi, meaning cashier, as his mother had been waiting to see the cashier of Jhinjhak branch of the Punjab National Bank to withdraw her widow pension under a state government scheme.
Then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav narrated the story of Khazanchi Nath in most of his public meetings in the run up to the state assembly elections, turning the child almost into a mascot of the hardships people faced after the Centre recalled high-value currency notes to cull black money on November 8.
Though his campaign failed to sway electorates and his party was trounced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in the polls, the SP leader has not forgotten the mascot, a year after the move that generated intense political debate.
On Thursday he sent Rs 10,000 to the family with a message that he would visit them to celebrate the boy’s first birthday next month.
Taking a dig at the Centre over demonetisation, Akhilesh on Wednesday tweeted: “Khanzachi’s mother doesn’t know what black money is. We cannot celebrate demonetisation but for sure will celebrate the birthday of Khazanchi.”
He called up chairman of Jhinjhak nagar panchayat Raj Kumar Yadav and asked him to visit the family in Jogidera in Jhinjhak area of Kanpur Dehat to hand over the money.
Raj Kumar met the family on Thursday morning to give the cash to Sarvesha, who is raising four children. The eldest child Priti is suffering from tuberculosis.
It’s not the first time that the SP leader gave financial aid to the family.
After he had announced Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those who died in bank queues, Akhilesh especially called Sarvesha and Khazanchi to Lucknow and handed them a cheque, considering it as a special case.
Khazanchi’s family belongs to the tribe of snake-charmers and his father Aareshwar had died of tuberculosis six months before his birth.
Living in abject poverty, the illness and untimely death of Sarvesha’s husband left the family in heavy debt. Sarvesha said she had already spent Rs 80,000 from the financial aid given by the previous government on repayment of debts.
“After my husband’s death, his brother Anil Nath threw us out of the house. I am living with my mother and surviving on widow pension,” she said.
Sarvesha has been allotted a house under the Ram Manohar Lohia housing scheme and expects to move there shortly.
“I want my children to get good education and jobs. I don’t want them to endure poverty,” she said.
“I spent some time with Khazanchi. The boy smiles a lot. I will brief the party president about the problems that the family is facing,” Raj Kumar said.