Tamauli (Azamgarh ):There is a village in Azamgarh whose name is not taken until dusk. It is believed that uttering the name ‘Tamauli’, especially during mornings or afternoons, is tantamount to inviting a thrashing, theft, robbery or worse.
So severe has been the terror of the outlaws – most from the Yadav community – of Tamauli, that it has turned into a superstition.
The superstition around this village in a way explains why no candidate from Azamgarh assembly constituency has visited it. Even as Akhilesh held a road show nearby, he chose to speak only outside the boundary of Tamauli.
Of course, why would any major political party gamble with their fortunes just when phase six polls, in which Tamauli will also vote, are three days away? Remember, in Uttar Pradesh, no chief minister steps foot in Noida in the national capital region because of superstitious beliefs.
And it is not just Akhilesh Yadav. Even his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who adopted Tamauli on his 75th birthday in November 2014, hasn’t paid it a visit since he won from Azamgarh in the last Lok Sabha polls.
But Yadavs in Tamauli, which constitute about 80% of the village’s population, still wish only the best for Samajwadi Party. The villagers are even starting a 10 day yagna from February 3, to pray for better relations between the father and son and for better poll prospects of the party.
“We have called pundits from Ayodhya. During the 10 days several Pandits will in turn keep praying that the two patch up. We don’t want the party to break. Mulayam is still a godly figure to us,” said Pramod Yadav, a local.
The yagna will end on March 10, one day before the UP poll results are announced. Loudspeakers to carry the pandits’ chants are being placed across the length and breadth of the village. Multi-coloured electric bulbs are also being placed.
Election season and Akhilesh Yadav’s road show is getting the village, which till three days ago used to get 12 hours a day power, to 18 hours a day.
The fact that a yagna is happening for the first time in this village shows the nervousness among the loyal support base of SP. The party that bagged 9 out of 10 assembly seats in Azamgarh district, is unlikely to get more than four seats this time, and the local Yadav voters understand this.
“All 1200 voters from this village will vote for SP. No matter what happens. No matter what the relations between the father and son are. No matter who is fielded from this seat. There is no doubt about whom this village will vote for. Mulayam jee has ensured a lot of development in this village. Except those from Jatav community, nobody can betray SP,” said Sunil Kumar Yadav.
Yadav’s confidence stems from the fact that between the Yadavs who are natural supporters of SP, and Dalits, who are staunch supporters of BSP, there is no other section of voters that can swing either ways.
Tamauli doesn’t have a single Muslim household.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had 1600 gram sabhas to chose from in 2014. The choice was made when BJP strongman, another Yadav, Ramakant Yadav was threatening to eat into MSY’s support base in the community.
By choosing a village without a single Muslim household, he’d sent a clear signal – don’t think Ramakant Yadav is the only Hindu Yadav leader. MSY’s move also showed how he had over time constricted the definition of backward castes, whose leader Mulayam claims to be.
The development that Sunil Yadav spoke of, is just restricted to the Yadav basti in Timauli. Dalits living just a few hundred feet away are still to get the drains, sewers and toilets that have been given to Yadav basti.
"As you can see, there are no drains, no sewers. Even land that was allotted to us in 1975 hasn't been given to us. We haven't seen any one apart from chamars come here, leave aside the question of development," said Jalandhar Ram, a Dalit.
The marginalised - Muslims and Dalits - feel that they haven't been ignored in this village alone.
Tamauli is perhaps symbolic of SP's style of politics especially in Azamgarh where it won 9 out of 10 seats in 2012. This is the party is looking at a washout this time.