In politics, the naming of things is often as important as the things that are being named
What's in a name? Well, quite a lot if the name happens to be associated with a prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party in a Congress-ruled state.
In politics, the naming of things is often as important as the things that are being named. While the Congress is known to have a penchant of naming things — from lanes and roundabouts to educational institutes and social welfare schemes — after its illustrious leaders, other parties have taken to the idea as well.
So while former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party) aimed at creating an alternate urban history by naming things after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar or Kanshi Ram, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, too, has been naming monuments and welfare schemes after legendary BJP ideologues and leaders like Deendayal Upadhyay and Atal Behari Vajpayee.
In Rajasthan, with the elections to the State Assembly round the corner, names are likely to cause some discomfort to both the people and their leaders. Vijaya Raje Nagar, a blip on the National Highway-65, connecting Haryana with western Rajasthan, is just another case in point.
Plot owners here claim to be bearing the brunt of buying land in a residential colony named after former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s mother Vijaya Raje Scindia.
The colony, located just a few meters from the newly developing building of the Rajasthan High Court, is arguably the most expensive residential property site in western Rajasthan. With land going for Rs. 30,000/square meter here, official auctions of residential plots routinely fetch the Jodhpur Development Authority crores of rupees.
Yet, the colony, created under the previous Bharatiya Janta Party rule in 2006-07, is still bereft of basic infrastructure like power supply, water supply and a functioning sewerage system. There are a total of 380 residential plots here, some yet to be auctioned. But the fate of all those who put their life’s earnings into buying property here hangs in the balance.
“We have made countless rounds to the Jodhpur Development Authority (JDA) office to request for the provision of basic facilities but to no avail,” says Mangi Lal, who is building a house on his 240 sq meter plot here. But without electricity, water or sewerage, he doubts if he will be able to move in to his newly-built house anytime soon.
He, along with several other plot owners of Vijaya Raje Nagar, claim that the JDA officials have a rehearsed reply to all of their problems: It is a political matter and will take its own course.
“Why are we suffering? Simply because the colony is named after the previous Chief Minister’s mother,” Mangi Lal wonders.
Harish Purohit, another plot owner, says he invested money in the project thinking of its immense “development potential”, what with the new High Court complex coming up right opposite the colony and the IndiaBulls Mega Mall, Jodhpur’s biggest and swankiest commercial property, just across the road.
“The JDA collects a high colony development fee from every plot buyer but it does not translate into basic facilities on the ground and gets sacrificed at the altar of politics,” he says.
But then, name-games have been played by the Opposition, too. People still remember former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje changing the name of the Rajiv Gandhi National Park to the Mukundara Hills National Park, when she was in power.