Over 9,000 from several States working in Chennai

Several of Chennai Metro Rail’s migrant workers will only be able to watch as Chennaiites go out to vote next week. They will not be able to exercise their franchise.

Twenty-five-year-old Sujit Deb from Odisha, working on the Chennai Metro project since 2012, casually dismissed the idea of going home to vote. “It is not as if I did not want to go. But I took leave and went home just two months ago. I may go next during Durga Pooja,” he said.

Over 9,000 workers from several States, including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, are relentlessly working to build a massive transportation network for the city. Sadly, shuttling between Chennai and their hometowns is not easy.

An official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said they did not have objections to workers going home to vote. In fact, there are some workers who have gone home and extended the leave a little to use the opportunity to cast their vote, said the official.

“However, not many have specifically asked for leave to go home for a day or two to vote, as it may not be economically viable for them. It will cost them quite a bit,” said the official.

Manoj Kumar, 30, from Bihar, who has been in the city for a year-and-a-half now said he missed voting this time.

“I voted the last time. This time too, I was eager to vote and had made up my mind on who to vote for. But I can neither afford to travel nor do I have leave,” he said.

It is not possible for migrant workers in Tamil Nadu to vote here as the postal ballot option has been ruled out.

Unless their names are registered in the voters’ list here, they cannot vote in Chennai, said an official of the Election Commission.

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