Charcha with UP’s Tempowalas: Who Are They Voting For This Time?

Charcha with UP’s Tempowalas: Who Are They Voting For This Time?

State Elections 2017

Right under the busy metro station of Noida Sector 15 stands a bunch of colourful ‘tempos’ – a defining vehicle plying on the roads of Noida and Ghaziabad. The drivers of these tempos are enjoying their morning tea as they are waiting for their sawaris. It’s Sunday and therefore, not a busy day for chaiwalals as they sip chai and indulge in charcha on who will win the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“Who are you voting for?” asks The Quint’s Stutee Ghosh to the tempowalas surrounding the chai stall. “I’ll vote for PM Narendra Modi and his party,” says Mukhbeer Singh. Mukhbeer is from Aligarh and earns his living through his tempo. “I've been driving tempos in Ghaziabad for 15 years now. I've seen both Mayawati and Akhilesh come to power. They are both corrupt. I want change,” he says.

The SP government is synonymous with loot, murder, rape and riots, says tempo driver Jagdish Prajapati. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
The SP government is synonymous with loot, murder, rape and riots, says tempo driver Jagdish Prajapati. (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)
Sudama Kumar wants PM Modi to come to power. “Before Akhilesh, his father ruled for years. Now he must take a back seat &amp; let the BJP come to power.” (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
Sudama Kumar wants PM Modi to come to power. “Before Akhilesh, his father ruled for years. Now he must take a back seat & let the BJP come to power.” (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)

Another tempowala, Manoj Chauhan, who lives in Noida, said, “I will vote for the lotus (BJP’s poll symbol).” Upset with the Mayawati government, Manoj says: “During her rule, I can either feed my kids or the elephant (BSP’s poll symbol).”

Mayawati was hugely criticized and also voted out of power for building statues of herself and the elephant, her party symbol, across the state. In a rally held in Ghaziabad, she assured voters that BSP will now focus on development and not erect monuments.

Missing Mayawati?

Her supporters acknowledge that her statues are a big blunder but also praise her government’s ability to keep the law and order situation in check. “Why is it that goons and police fear Mayawati so much?” asks Mohammed Usman. “Why do Raja ji and his father prefer jail during her rule and not during Akhilesh’s?,” he asks.

The election has been touted as a face-off between apne ladke vs bahari aadmi. Mayawati has largely been missing from the campaign trail. On being asked to explain her absence, her supporter said:

Behen Ji is in trouble. There’s no money because of Narendra Modi’s note ban. Once there’s free flow of money, she will become more visible again.
This is what this Mayawati supporter had to say: “I love <i>Behen Ji</i>. Yes, she built a lot of statues. But her government is good for law and order.” (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
This is what this Mayawati supporter had to say: “I love Behen Ji. Yes, she built a lot of statues. But her government is good for law and order.” (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)

Akhilesh Ka Kaam Bolta Hai

“Is Yadav voting for Yadav?”

“No. Akhilesh's work speaks for him,” Rupender Yadav tells Stutee outside a tempo stand, next to Vaishali Metro Station.

“Akhilesh has done a lot in the last 5 years, something nobody has done in 20 years. He is a youth leader,” says Mohammed Shabaz Khan. “Cycles for the poor, ambulances for villages. Lucknow has a metro now. UP is being developed,” adds Mohammed Wasim.

“Akhilesh has done a lot in the last 5 years,” says Mohammed Shabaz Khan, a <i>tempowala</i>. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
“Akhilesh has done a lot in the last 5 years,” says Mohammed Shabaz Khan, a tempowala. (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)
“Akhilesh <i>bhaiya</i> shouldn’t have put the ‘cycle’ and the ‘hand’ together,” says Saumindra Yadav. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
“Akhilesh bhaiya shouldn’t have put the ‘cycle’ and the ‘hand’ together,” says Saumindra Yadav. (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)
The road to Delhi runs through UP. Will it be BJP or SP-Congress? There’s only room for one. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Vatsala Singh)
The road to Delhi runs through UP. Will it be BJP or SP-Congress? There’s only room for one. (Photo: The Quint/Vatsala Singh)

Uttar Pradesh is the most important state in Indian politics. The state has given our country 8 out of its 14 Prime Ministers. With the recent SP-Congress alliance, Akhilesh is eyeing a larger role in the General Elections of 2019. The road to Delhi runs through Lucknow. Is it going to be for Akhilesh or will Prime Minister Narendra Modi come to power again?

Video Editor: Hitesh Singh

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State Elections 2017
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