A high percentage of Dalits has given Pipri, in Sitapur, two hours from Lucknow, the status of an Ambedkar village. This means the village gets priority ‘saturation’ by all ongoing central and state social welfare schemes. And so, 75 homes have been built in the past two years under the Indira Aawas Yojana, some of them have attached toilets under the Total Sanitation scheme, the entire village has CC (cement-concrete) roads under the Gramin Sadak Yojana, and there is an Ambedkar Health Centre. No one in the village had received the benefits of the Savitribai Phule Aarthik Madad Yojana under which girls from BPL families who get through the 10th grade get Rs 15,000 and a free bicycle (we came across an example in another village). Make no mistake. Pipri is an exception. These benefits have been extracted only after fighting a malfunctioning administration and corrupt contractors who wanted to mix low-grade sand into the cement. In their fight, they had the assistance of Richa Singh, a local activist. Other Ambedkar villages aren’t so lucky. We’re told of the nearby village of Chowkhadia, where the contractors had their way and the roads have already deteriorated in the rains. But even Pipri, for all its political alertness, suffers from delayed ration cards, an underqualified schoolmaster, a school building that’s yet to be completed, and pensions denied arbitrarily. So who will Pipri vote for? Behenji, of course. Why? Because benefits, even if hard won, have come. As one of them tells us, even if they vote for the Samajwadi Party, no one in the SP will believe them.