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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

‘Golden’ only in name, Sohna torn between caste and issues

Mohit Sharma , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, April 01, 2014
First Published: 11:50 IST(1/4/2014) | Last Updated: 11:51 IST(1/4/2014)

The issues troubling Sohna are almost the same as any other rural hinterland in the country, but the voters here will have a particularly more difficult task at hand on April 10 — whether to go for the traditional caste- and religion-based voting or choose their parliamentarian based on land and farmers’ issues.

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Known for natural hot water springs, tourist complexes and lush farmhouses sprawled across the Aravallis, this town abutting Mewat is about 23 km from the Millennium City.

The town derived its name from the gold dust found in the sand of streams flowing through this area. However, the residents claim that the facilities and opportunities here are anything but golden or shiny.

Even as the urban pockets of the Gurgaon Lok Sabha constituency seek an educated and well-read parliamentarian, people in Sohna prefer someone who would take up their issue related to water, electricity, education and agriculture. Disappointed at their agricultural and irrigation-related problems not making it into the speeches of politicians, the farmers here rue that the political parties seem more interested in playing the blame game.

“They seem more eager in telling us what the other candidates didn’t do, rather than saying what they will do if they come to power. We require water and electricity for almost four months, from November to March, but even then we have to depend on ourselves.

The sitting MP never made a visit to our village and even now the candidates seem more eager in playing the blame game rather than telling us what they will do if they come to power,” said Harbhajan, resident of Raisina in Sohna.

“When I first took up agriculture, water was available at 10 feet below the ground. But now the level of water has gone down to more than 100 feet and at certain locations even below 150 feet. However, no politician is concerned with that issue,” said Lekhi Ram, a resident.

An approximate of 56 villages fall under the jurisdiction of Sohna assembly constituency, and the lack of schools and quality of education in the region has resulted in over-dependence on agriculture. “Sohna has never been known for good government schools and if we want our children to study, we have to largely rely on private schools who charge an exorbitant amount,” said Ravindra Kumar, a farmer.

The diverse regional ethnicity of Sohna leads to caste-based politics and religion polarisation.

Predominantly known for the large population of Ahirs that reside here, Sohna is also home to Gujjars, Jats, Thakurs and Muslims.

“We support Rao Dharampal who is representing the Congress. However, as far as the vote bank is concerned, the Meo votes are largely going to be in favour of Congress and Zakir Hussain who is fighting on an Indian National Lok Dal ticket this time,” said Usman Khan, a resident of Raipur.


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