New is in. 2018 has just rolled out and if you happen to be in the Pink City, the central locations and the happening joints are spick and span. If it’s not novel, there aren’t many takers.
Government is putting its best face forward, even the Opposition is posing to be rejuvenated, businesses are hoping that the worst is behind them and people as usual are moving on with their lives.
This quest to find something new is the starting point for my recent adventure as I hit the wheels with the aam admi and travel through the 33 districts of Rajasthan and find out what the janta Janardhan feels about Maharo desh.
The idea is to talk to people and figure out what is development for them and what they aspire to be, how their lives have changed over the last decade.
Forty minutes on the Jaipur Ajmer highway, I start a conversation with Vinita Kumari, the conductor of my bus. For the last three years, she has been doing round way trips from Churu to Ajmer. ‘When is the next pay hike,’ is her view on development, prod a bit and she says, “Over the last couple of years the ride has become smooth, I see infrastructure coming up, my guess work is happening.” “After spending a close to 15 hours in the roadways bus, at least three days a in a week there is hardly any scope for anything else,” she adds as the bus comes to halt at the Kishangarh.
The clean bus stand takes me by surprise. Despite being thronged by numerous college students, the place is neat by miles. Sipping my chai, I over hear the argument between college students and ticket vendor. They are complaining about not getting their due 50% concession on express bus to Jaipur and vendor saying can’t give. They miss out on four buses.
“This is our everyday fight, I can’t understand when I have the pass why can’t I travel,” says agitated Uday Ram who is in the final year of Bachelors Degree.
Most of the students are worried about what their locality holds for them once they are out of college. Despite being a mining hub the place doesn’t offer much for graduates. “It’s a little difficult to be a mason or laborer once you have graduated,” quips Uday before hopping into the local bus as the conductor agrees to give the due concession.
The best definition of development I gather at the bus stop is by 20 something Hemraj who studies at the Government College, “Netas show us the airport when they talk of development, but we travel by bus. However, the one who travels by air has ensured that we get a new bus stand.” As I roll my eyes, I read Shri Ratanlal Kanwarlal Patni Bus Stand, Kishangarh.
I reached Ajmer anticipating election buzz, but a relative silence is in the air, at least in the city( till then the nominations were not official from both parties)
People remembered the late parliamentarian Sawar Lal Jat with regard but are unsure of his son Mr. Ramswarup Lamba (who has been nominated for the bypolls by BJP) . They talk about Congress Chief Sachin Pilot with optimism, but can’t figure out why he is not leading from the front and contesting the bypolls. Now, that Congress has declared Raghu Sharma, former MLA as it’s candidate, all I can say from my interactions with people in Ajmer, Pushkar and Nasirabad that he isn’t a very popular name.
Move around the city, meet the man on street and one can sense that the ruling party has better chances of holding the fort and the absence of a worthy opponent makes their claim to power stronger.