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Prosperity from Mumbai, power in UP

Manjipatti has a population of 6,000, of which 2,000 either lives in Mumbai or the Middle East, reports Sunita Aron.

india Updated: May 07, 2007 08:35 IST

Obaid is barely 12. The moment he spots the car, he rushes with his innocent query. “Will you sell your car?” He giggles when asked what he would do with the car. “I will do taskari (smuggling) or supari ka dhandha (trade in betel nut) in Mumbai.” Obaid is desperate to be in his dreamland — Mumbai. Half of his family is already there.

He is not the only one. Every child here is born with a dream to mint money. And he knows he has to either go to Middle East or Mumbai to turn it into a reality. Giving a kick to his dreams are the sprawling mansions in Manjipatti, the hometown of Mumbai’s Samajwadi Party (SP) president, Abu Asim Azmi. Majority of the plush cars here have Maharashtra numbers.

To call it a village would be a misnomer as the area is dotted with huge bungalows. There are no huts. Manjipatti has a population of 6,000, of which 2,000 either lives in Mumbai or the Middle East. Mohd Zahid, the Gram Pradhan of Manjipatti, says: “There are 3,500 voters of which 2,700 belong to the minority community. Roughly 500 have come from Mumbai and the Middle East to vote for the elections.”

While as many as 10,400 passports were issued from Azamgarh in 2006, in the first quarter of this year, another 4,600 passports were issued. Majority of the passport seekers are young men. Of late, women have also joined the rat race.

Azmi’s sparkling white house, where he spends a few days every month, stands out in the village. With a SP flag fluttering atop, the building is envy of others. Nowadays, Azmi is camping here.

Azmi is not the only role model. Irman alias Hitler, a young BSP candidate from adjoining Phulpur assembly constituency, is yet another example of prosperity. He owns a palatial house in Bebumba village, besides several shopping complexes.

He is into construction business in Mumbai, owns power looms in Bhiwandi and has a huge shopping complex of designer clothes in Middle East.

Hitler said many of his supporters have come from Mumbai to campaign for him.

The BSP village chief of Manjipatti claimed that the attendance was much higher during the local body elections. This time, he admits, people have come in large numbers to get their voter I-cards.