“Road, naali nahin, to vote main,” says a black banner put up by the residents of old Mohanpuri area in Meerut. Their message is clear. They will boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha election as basic civic amenities in their area have been completely overlooked.

This is surely a dire warning for political parties who might lose about 1500 votes from the residents of the old Mohanpuri area. The anger of the residents is palpable as the lack of development in the area is forcing them to live in pathetic and unhygienic conditions. The drains are overflowing and there is filth everywhere.

The roads are badly damaged while a sewer line is under construction on which work has been stalled for a long time, said Mukesh Kumar Saini, a shopowner of the area, adding that they tried a lot but work remains incomplete, adding to the woes of the people.

The construction for the sewer line started 3 months back but after a few days the work stopped. “The old drains were broken to make the new ones while the work which started for the construction of new ones has been stalled,” said Saini, adding that this has put them in a worse condition.

There are no drains as a result of which the roads are filthy and full of dirty water. “Every time our children and family members come out for some work they have to wade through the dirty water and filth,” said Vineeta, adding that their children cannot play outside and there is always fear of catching diseases due to the unhygienic conditions. “That is why we have decided to boycott the election when no one is ready to listen to us,” she said adding that this decision has been taken unanimously by the residents.

In the past years, the residents have run from pillar to post to attract the attention of the political parties and authorities towards their and plight but nothing happened.

“We wrote to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in this regard after which an enquiry was set up but nothing concrete happened,” said Sonu Kumar. He said they tried to move the authorities at different levels but the result was a big zero.

A group of residents, including two dozen women, also met a local BJP leader and explained their problems to him but he did not pay any heed to the issue, said Sonu, adding that they were driven out of his house without any assurance. They also approached the local councillor but got no assurance.

“We are struggling for basic civic amenities while the politicians are not ready to listen to us,” said Saini. He said not only BJP but also a Congress leader of the area are involved which is why they were forced to take the decision to boycott the election.

“Only we know that in what conditions we are living,” said a resident, Lakshmi Rani. “We feel embarrassed when some guests come to visit us. In fact relatives avoid coming to our houses. Also the sweepers have stopped coming here,” she added.

“Every time our children go out we are afraid that they might fall into pits or the open waste flowing everywhere because of the under-construction drains which worsens when it rains,” said Savita. “We find no reason to vote for any political party when in the middle of the city we are living in conditions poorer than that in villages,” she averred.