More than 30,000 fishermen in Gujarat are caught in a dilemma — to vie for a “good catch” or vote.
Fishermen from 10 Assembly constituencies on the coast will be out in the sea on December 9, the day of polling.
Jiten Modi, 25, of Valsad is one such fishermen. The scarcity of fish near the shores forces fishermen to venture deep into the sea and remain there for 15 to 20 days for a good catch.
This means he and many more like him will not be able to vote.
Most of the fishermen hail from the Kharava community, which is spread across the coastal region of the State.
Bharatbhai Modi, a leading figure in the fishermen community in Porbandar, said a sizeable section of voters from the community would give voting a miss.
“Earlier, we used to sail for four or five days and return home. In the past few years, we have to sail for at least 15 days to get a good catch,” he said.
Prahlad Adodara, who voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, will not be able to do so this time.
Manesh Doshi, a spokesperson of the Congress in the State, said the party did not want to lose out on fishermen’s vote.
“We have approached them, but their excuse is genuine,” he said.
Raju Druv, a BJP spokesperson, said, “This time overall voter turnout is likely to be more than that in the previous election. This may help us overcome the impact of some voters missing on polling day. We are taking efforts to mobilise more and more people,” he said.