H.S. Narasimha Kumar

DAVANGERE: Many schoolchildren pocketed some money by distributing pamphlets for some candidates contesting the urban local body elections here on Friday.

No, they were not canvassing support for a member of the family or a relative; it was purely mercenary. Why would they pass up a chance to earn Rs. 100 by distributing pamphlets?

Most of them were from poor families and had worked for the candidates for quite some time, especially after school hours. While some of them had been permitted by their parents to hand out pamphlets, others had volunteered to help contribute to the family income. They hoped that more such opportunities would come their way. They were seen handing out pamphlets in areas such as K.B. Extension, P.J. Extension and MCC ‘B’ Block.

Some people wondered whether it was legal to employ children below 14 years of age for such work. Did it not violate the Child Labour (Prevention) Act, they asked. A few elderly people expressed sympathy for the children.

With labourers also participating in election-related work, construction and agricultural activities came to a standstill a week prior to the elections.