‘No train, no votes’: 18 villages in Navsari call for boycott of elections

The residents of Ancheli and its 17 neighbouring villages in Navsari have hung banners to boycott the Assembly elections and ban political leaders, including from the ruling BJP, from entering the villages for campaigns as their demand for stopping local trains at the Ancheli railway station has not been met yet.

The banners near the Ancheli Railway station and in the main chowk areas of the villages says, “Train nahi to vote nahi (no train no votes). BJP or other political parties should not come for election campaigns. Our demands are not met, so we are boycotting the elections.”

Since the past couple of months, residents of Ancheli and the neighbouring villages have been making representations to Navsari MP and state BJP president CR Paatil, BJP MLA Piyush Desai, and Union Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshanaben Jardosh demanding a stop for shuttle trains and other passenger trains at the Ancheli Railway station. The service, they claim, has been stopped after the Covid-19 pandemic.

On October 18, the villagers also wrote to Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw with the same request.

Ancheli falls between Amalsad and Vedchha Railway stations of the Western Railway in Navsari. In the memorandum, the villagers demanded a stop for Virar Bharuch Express and Surat Intercity Express, which travels between Mumbai to Surat.

A majority of the residents of the 18 villages have passes and regularly take these trains to travel to Valsad and Surat for jobs, education and other works. The memorandum was signed by the sarpanches of the 18 villages.

Despite the memorandum and making multiple representations to the political leaders, no actions have been taken so far. “The students, people going to neighbouring textile industries in Sachin and Valsad are facing great problems. They are far from the villages and with the limited salary, they cannot afford to travel on their own vehicles. The buses are also not regular,” said Ancheli village Sarpanch Nirmala Patel.

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