Victor Singh, 38, points to standing crops in his fields. “Rich people come in their big cars and keep staring at the landscape. In Yamuna authority’s master plan, these are sectors 18 and 20.”
Bhatta-Parsaul, the epicentre of land acquisition agitation, falls in Jewar assembly seat. The state government had acquired land from farmers and allotted 21,000 plots in Bhatta-Parsaul and adjoining villages to builders. Buyers have already invested R2,000 crore but farmers continue to hold on to the land.
Four people were killed in May last year when farmers, seeking greater price for this very land, clashed with police.
Voting in the Jewar assembly seat on Tuesday registered a record turnout of 60 per cent (it was 45 per cent in the last elections). And the contest is crucial for all the parties.
Firebrand farmer leader Manveer Singh Tevatia, who spearheaded the Bhatta agitation, is contesting on a JD(U) ticket from jail.
BSP won the seat in the last two elections. Congress had its last MLA from the seat way back in 1985. But because of Rahul Gandhi’s trysts with Bhatta and his run-ins with Mayawati, Jewar has become a prestige seat for both Congress and BSP. Congress has fielded Thakur Dhirendra Singh on whose bike Rahul visited Bhatta.
BSP has fielded Sikandrabad MLA Vedram Bhati as Jewar has been converted to a general seat. Vijendra Bhati is SP’s candidate.
Purshottam Sharma, 20, said, “Manveer fought for us, but Congress looks more capable of defeating BSP.” Chandrapal Singh, 68, of Parsaul said, “Manveer left us to face police wrath and remained absconding till he was arrested. Rahul used Bhatta to further his political ambitions. But he did bring peace to the region.”