It is the anti-thesis of Badal village — Chief Minister Parkash Badal’s native place – though it is walking distance from there. While Badal village is lined by palm trees that sit beside plush roads, the adjacent Mann village survives on kuccha roads that vehicles find difficult to traverse and grapples with dirty water.
Mann’s residents say that they are paying a heavy price for their loyalty to the Congress. Their strong ties to the Opposition party in Punjab was evident even on Wednesday, the day of polling for the general elections, when the village recorded 80.11 per cent polling. The Congress booths in the village were much bigger than those set up by the Akalis and had more number of workers.
“Can you believe that we are neighbours of the chief minister. His village is at a walking distance from ours but see the difference. We have no proper roads, and our pond is filled with filthy sewer water. This is the price for supporting a rival party,” said Harcharan Singh, a villager of Mann.
The government primary school – where the polling booth was set up – is another reminder of stark difference between the two villages. While it is dilapidated, the one in Badal village is neat, clean and is maintained very well.
The school is also a reminder of the violence that occurred during the panchayat samiti elections in May 2013. “Almost the entire village had been booked in May 2013 and we had been running from our houses for over a month.
Now the trail is going on against 16 of us while Amardeep Singh is behind bars. Amardeep’s wife was the Congress candidate in 2013 panchayat samiti elections,” said Harcharan, who was on election duty as a Congress worker on Wednesday.
The villagers are also involved in a legal battle for clashes during the sarpanch elections which were held about six years ago. “A few of our members got away from the case after they shifted their loyalties,” said Harmir Singh another Mann resident.
For a change, there was no violence on Wednesday. “We hope that the roads will be made repaired this year irrespective of who we voted for. Development should be fair and not on the basis of the votes cast in favour of a particular party,” Harmir Singh added.
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