Thursday, November 22, 2012

Won over by home dream, widow hopes Cong wins

The mood in the state Congress camp saw an upswing on Monday when thousands of women in urban and semi-urban areas thronged party centres to collect forms to avail of its Ghar nu Ghar (own one’s own house) scheme.
However, the most poor among those who collected the forms doubt Congress’s victory in the Assembly elections due later this year. But they say they will fill the forms “just in case it works out.”
Kashiben Rajput (45), a widow and rag-picker by profession, has been living in a shanty in the bed of a rivulet in Tulsivadi locality of Karelibaug area of the city for the past 30 years.
“Mackdol (an alias for local Congress worker Manoj Chudasama) told me I can have my own home. So I went and collected the form. My son will fill and submit it,” says Rajput, sitting on a charpai outside her hut. To collect the form, Rajput had to cancel her daily trip to pick plastic bags.
“I want a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen house. However, I am aware this will only happen if Congress wins. They have shown a carrot to us. But I shall make payment only after I get the possession of my home,” Rajput, a mother of four sons and a daughter, says.
Rajput’s elder daughter and son are married. However, she continues to raise her three younger sons —Suhil (17) who is learning repairing of air conditioners, Kalpesh (13) who had to drop out of school after she took ill last year, and Rahul who studies in Class III at a government school.
Rajput, who earns Rs 70-100 daily, says she does not have preferences so far as Congress and BJP are concerned. “For me, feeding my son is top priority. If we get a home, it will be a relief from stink of the sewage water and mosquito bites,” she says.
Recounting her experience at the form collection centre, she says, “It (the crowd of women) was mad. I feared I would suffer a heart attack. But I had to get one form at any cost.”
However, not all women were so lucky. Her neighbour had to return empty-handed because of the mad rush. She says she is willing to pay Rs 50 to any one who gets her a form.
The Congress has announced to provide houses to the urban poor in three categories: one-room-kitchen homes for a down payment of Rs 70,000, one-bedroom-hall-kitchen for Rs 1 lakh down payment and two-bedroom-hall-kitchen for Rs 1.8 lakh down payment. The remainder of the cost of the house will have to paid in easy installments over 15 years.
The party claimed to have distributed 28 lakh forms across state on Monday. Vadodara alone accounted for 1.25 lakh forms.
Buoyed by the response, GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia has announced that more forms would be distributed to ensure every eligible beneficiary gets them.
Accordingly, president of Vadodara unit of the party, Narendra Ravat, said today that 1.25 lakh more forms will be distributed in the city from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

Gujarat EDN
IE 22AUG2012