Residents of around 27 villages in Airoli and Belapur Assembly constituencies boycotted the Lok Sabha elections on Monday. Agri Koli Youth Foundation, which was formed by the villagers, had made an appeal to people in this regard, as a mark of protest against the government for not fulfilling their demand of providing property cards.
“Around 10 years ago, there was a GR stating that a survey would be conducted and property cards would be given to the villagers. In 1970s, when the CIDCO built Navi Mumbai they took away land of the villagers. Now these people do not have property with a clear title. Though they have the possession, the title holders are the CIDCO. Most of the houses are old and they need to be reconstructed, and for that, there has to be a clear title,” Nilesh Patil, president of the foundation, said.
He also said, “Every government gives us false promises so this time, we decided to boycott the elections.”
The villages which skipped the elections include Airoli village, Diwale, Gothivali, Ghansoli, Koparkhairane, Vashi, Turbhe, Sanpada, Nerul, Karave, Agroli, Shahbaaz, and Belapur village. Mr. Patil said, “There are close to 1.60 lakh voters in these villages, which include the original villagers and those who had come here years ago and have settled. Around 50% villagers have supported the boycott.”
Seventy-five-year-old Tarabai Koli from Talavali village said, “Our farms are gone. We have nothing left, but we want to secure the future of our children and for that the property cards are necessary.”
The villagers feel that even as the boycott might not affect the Lok Sabha elections much, it will matter for the Assembly election, and this is just a warning to the politicians. “If our demand is not met before the Assembly election, we will collectively make one-sided vote,” Mr. Patil said.