Special Correspondent

‘Every vote is important, and we need to act fast'

A lot is being spent on hiring vehicles

GULBARGA: With just four days to go for the gram panchayat elections in Gulbarga and Yadgir districts, the major concern of contestants is how to garner the support of migrant workers.

Besides providing them transport facilities, so that they can return to their villages to exercise their franchise, the candidates have had to ensure that all their needs are taken care of.

Shivaling Sunkad, contesting from Ward no. 1 at Yedrami village in Jewargi taluk, said that bringing home migrated workers on the polling day entailed huge additional expenditure. “We have no other alternative but to ensure their presence as they constitute a huge chunk of the voters. As every single vote is important, we have to act fast,” he said.

The problem is more serious in villages in Yadgir district and in Jewargi, Chincholi, Aland and parts of Chitapur taluks, where the seasonal migration of people in search of employment is more evident. The problem of migration is rampant in Banjara-dominated tandas (hamlets) in Chincholi and Aland taluks of Gulbarga district, and tandas in Yadgir district.

Candidates, who are already facing financial problems owing to increased voter demands, are now forced to spend huge amounts on hiring vehicles to bring back migrant workers.

In Shadipur tanda in Chincholi taluk, a candidate, who did not want to be named, said he had hired two buses to bring back migrant workers from Goa and Mumbai. Mr. Sunkad said the State Election Commission should devise ways to enable people who have migrated from their areas, to cast their votes through postal ballot as was done in the case of government employees on election duty.

“This will save candidates huge money,” he added.