A four-lane expressway passing through Khalilabad might seem like development to many. But the residents of this textile town in eastern UP’s Sant Kabir Nagar district have a different story to tell. One that talks of unfulfilled promises, erratic power supply and poverty.
"We have given opportunities to the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the past,” said Mohammad Assadullah, 70, resident of Naurav village, 20 km north of Khalilabad town. "But they all failed to fulfil our aspirations. Rather, the closure of the spinning mill, hike in the price of the raw material and erratic power supply has pushed us into poverty."
As the constituency goes to polls on February 8, people here are yearning for a political change. And this time they seem to be willing to give the Peace Party an opportunity.
Peace Party national president Dr Mohammad Ayub has fielded candidates from 230 assembly seats. In Khalilabad, Ayub is pitted against Mashur Alam Chaudhary (BSP), Abdul Kalam (SP), Digvijay Narayan Chaturvedi (BJP) and Alok Yadav (Congress).
The rival parties have fielded strong Muslim candidates to counter his influence but the desire for change among the locals may scupper their plans.
"Doctor saheb has not promised the moon to the weavers. He has been working in the area for five years and assured us he would stand by us in our fight for dignity," said Sadiq Ali, the head of Hardi village.