Their heart lies in Uttarakhand. But they vote for Uttar Pradesh. Nearly 17 villages on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in Kotdwar (known as Bhabhar area), constituting approximately 12,000 voters, do not want to be a part of the former state, thanks to poor development.
Sushila Devi, 40, a resident of Motadhak gram panchayat, Bijnore in UP said: “We were sacrificed during state formation. We vote for UP, but love Uttarakhand. In fact, we are ailing with UP stigma.”
These villages are entirely dependent on Uttarakhand (Kotdwar) for their needs, be it education, hospitals, electricity, water supply or markets. They hate calling themselves 'the UP walas'.
First time voter Santosh, 20, said: “I am an Uttarakhandi and not a UP wala. A road or railway track cannot divide me from 'my state'. I won't exercise my power of vote, as I don't consider myself to be a native of UP.”
Agitated villagers believe that being UPwala is of no use. The UP government has neither taken any interest in their development, nor provided them any facility.
Sashidhar, a resident of Chatruwala village of Bijnore told Hindustan Times, “We are a rejected lot. The UP government isn't concerned about our development. It's only during election that candidates' supporters visit us; the candidates do not come even then.”
In 2010, villagers met leader of opposition in Uttarakhand state assembly Harak Singh Rawat, regarding their inclusion in Uttarakhand. The crusade was named Uttarakhand Mission 2010. But nothing was achieved.
The condition of these villages is pathetic. Employment in government sector of Uttarakhand is a major problem encountered by the young generation of these villages living on the borderline of the two states.
Their domicile is of Uttarakhand and voter card of UP. Ajit, 30, working in SIDCUL, Kotdwar grumbled: “We are not eligible to avail of government jobs in Uttarakhand. And we don't want to work in UP. Though our domicile is of Uttarakhand, we are considered outsiders, being the voters of UP.”