Dalelpur was part of Haryana till 1982, then the govt decided to merge it with U.P.
“Voting is all that we are left with,” says 50-year-old Kailash, a farmer from a village on the Uttar Pradesh-Haryana border that falls under the Gautam Budh Nagar district.
Kailash and 20 other residents of Dalelpur village cross the Yamuna on boat and make their way to their polling station in Gulavali village on a tractor to be able to vote on Thursday. The village, a few kilometres off the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, is 2 km from the riverbank.
The Yamuna flows between Dalelpur and the rest of the district. Villagers say they have no ties with the administration in Noida, but they turn up to vote every time as it is the only way they will not be forgotten.
“Our village was part of Haryana till 1982, then under some pretext the government decided to make us part of U.P. They never bothered to ask us,” says Kailash, with his Haryanvi twang bristling with disappointment.
The villagers say their electricity comes from Haryana, their children study in Faridabad and their produce is sold there too. The only time they come to Noida is for paperwork regarding land, birth and death certificates and to vote.
“Neither Haryana nor U.P. is doing anything for us. We have no roads, no schools, no facilities. The authorities on both sides just tell us to sit quietly where we are,” Kailash adds.
Another villager, Hari Singh, says he has come all the way to vote but found his name missing on the electoral rolls. “We command no respect from any government,” he adds dejectedly.
But to their credit, the district election officials made sure that Dalelpur residents are able to cross the river to vote.
Had they come by road, the villagers would have had to travel 60 km just to get to the other side of their district.
“For the first time, we have arranged a boat and tractors on both sides for these villagers. Senior officials have been posted on the riverbank all day to make sure that they have no problems,” says Jaideep Tripathi, the district panchayat officer.
This campaign season, politicians across the country may have talked about development, but for Dalelpur residents not only is there no development, there is no talk of it either.
“No politician has ever come to our village. No one talks to or listens to us because there are not too many votes at stake in the village. Our situation is worse than Peepli Live,” explains Satveer Tyagi, a Dalelpur resident.
Despite all their problems, the villagers say it is important for them to make the effort and vote for the sake of their “honour”. As they get ready to leave for home, the afternoon sun blazed overhead and chants of “Jai Jamuna maiya” echo along the riverbank. Dalelpur has done its democratic duty.