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Beautification of Old City, the pet project of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, has left a mark on the minds of the residents of Lucknow North assembly constituency.Many people say the Old City witnessed development only under the Samajwadi Party regime while others feel that the area has seen only cosmetic changes.Participating in an informal chat organised by HT at Gulab Park to assess the issues concerning the residents of the area, Kasim Mirza said: “Never before I have seen such development as we have witnessed under the SP regime.” “I have grown here seeing these monuments of the era of Nawabs lying in neglect. It is only under the SP regime that work began to restore the lost sheen of these monuments,” he said. “Prior to SP government, the entire focus was on trans-Gomti areas. But under the SP regime, old and new areas of the city witnessed uniform development,” said Izzat Hussain, another morning-walker.
Other than beautification of Old City and nearby areas, construction of the new Hardinge Bridge or Pucca Pul was also hailed by morning-walkers. “It smoothened traffic movement and improved connectivity to areas like Triveni Nagar, Khadra, Faizullaganj, Hussainabad and Chowk,” said Hussain. He said the bridge was exactly a replica of the 200-year-old Hardinge Bridge that was said to be the first-ever bridge on river Gomti. Some of the morning-walkers, however, slammed the SP and called its development work as cosmetic. “It’s only on the surface, lanes and bylanes are still stinky,” said Sudhir Shukla, a resident of Old City.“Beautification of monuments and main roads will hardly make any difference, unless the entire area is cleaned up. If you want to see the truth, see beyond the tall Nawabi structures,” Shukla added. “Winning the seat will be a tough task for SP candidate Abhishek Mishra,” he said. According to political analysts, the contest this time will be between SP candidate Abhishek Mishra and BJP’s Neeraj Bora. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Ajay Kumar Srivastava.In the 2012 assembly elections, Abhishek Mishra had won the seat by securing 47,580 votes. Neeraj Bora, who was fielded by the Congress last time, stood runner up by securing 45,361 votes. BJP’s Ashutosh Tandon and BSP’s Arun Dwivedi got 45,245 and 22, 902 votes respectively. Here, candidates don’t visit voters
Lucknow North constituency
Male voters: 29,8152 Female voters: 27,3346 Literacy: 79.33%
Poll campaign is on in full swing in the city but the residents of Faizullaganj, an underdeveloped locality in Lucknow North constituency, are still waiting for the visit of candidates.According to residents, the candidates are not willing to visit Faizullaganj as they fear they may fall ill as unhygienic condition prevails in the area.“Yahan ayenge to wo bimaar pad jayenge, aap aaye hain to aap bhi bimaar ho jayenge. Aap chale jayen to behtar hoga hume aadat hai aise rehne ki (Politicians will fall ill if they visit the locality. You also go or you may also take ill. We are used to living in such conditions),” said Akhtari Fatima, sitting on a small charpoy outside a single-room house. The charpoy is placed near an open manhole where two of her kids are having their meal. “I haven’t seen any politician here. There has been no development in our area. It has been almost 15 years since I shifted here with my husband,” said Akhtari, highlighting the problems of Faizullaganj which has a population of around 1.25 lakh. Another resident, Hamid Ali Siddiqui, said it was strange that the entire Old City had been beautified under the SP government but no efforts were made to ensure development in the locality. “We do not have water pipe lines, streetlights and roads. Why should we vote? No candidate has visited us so far,” said Siddiqui.
Faizullahganj residents lament the unhygienic conditions in their area. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)