About 30,000 Malayalis come home to vote from Gulf

Although they had voted in the previous elections, this time they were involved in an intensive campaign, said Kerala Muslim Cultural Committees (KMCC).

April 23, 2024 09:11 pm | Updated 09:11 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

When expatriate voters reached Calicut International Airport, Karipur, on a chartered flight on Friday.

When expatriate voters reached Calicut International Airport, Karipur, on a chartered flight on Friday.

Hundreds of expatriate Malayalis working in the Arabian Gulf countries have come home on a short visit to poll their votes. Thanks to the Kerala Muslim Cultural Committees (KMCC), the overseas cultural wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), several flights were chartered for voting purpose.

A dozen-odd ‘vote flights’ have been arranged from Saudi Arabia and other countries. Many have come home for an extended Id-ul-Fitr vacation. Many who did not get leave for a week or two are coming on Thursday evening for two days.

KMCC leaders said about 30,000 Malayalis have reached home to vote in the Lok Sabha elections. More than their votes, the influence they exercise in other voters matters.

This time, the different KMCC units in the Gulf are involved in the electoral campaign like never before. “The reason is obvious. As Indians working abroad, we know much better than our brothers and sisters at home how India and Indians are being perceived by the world. The world media have contempt for India and its government. The Arabs here, who used to respect Indians, have begun making fun of us. All because of the Narendra Modi government and its despotic policies,” said Aboobacker Arimbra, president of the Jeddah unit of KMCC.

KMCC members coming home on a chartered flight.

KMCC members coming home on a chartered flight.

Mr. Aboobacker said that although they had voted in the previous elections, this time they were involved in an intensive campaign. “We have devised a slogan: India should win, and democracy should be salvaged.”

K.P. Mohammed Kutty, chief patron of the Saudi Arabia national unit of the KMCC, said that expatriates were disappointed like never before for several reasons, including lack of government support for their pension and improper travel facilities. “Earlier, we had a ministry at the Centre exclusively to handle the matters of expatriates. Now that is gone. It is time to express our angst through voting,” said Mr. Mohammed Kutty.

A rally taken out under the banner of the Jeddah KMCC unit at Malappuram on Sunday.

A rally taken out under the banner of the Jeddah KMCC unit at Malappuram on Sunday.

Using the wide networks of the KMCC wings and their members, the organisation reached out to tens of thousands of people in Kerala and other States. The Jeddah unit of the KMCC alone has 25,000 members. If other major units in Saudi Arabia like those in Riyadh and Dhamam come together, the number of voters being canvassed goes further up. “Our units alone have planned to canvas 15 lakh voters,” said Mr. Aboobacker.

They have been campaigning for nearly two months. In the last phase of campaign, they took out an expatriates rally at Malappuram on Sunday, and started a roadshow from Chelari on Monday, which will conclude at Tirurangadi on Wednesday. On Tuesday, they held an expatriate family gathering in Malappuram. They are staging roadshows not only in Malappuram and Ponnani constituencies, but in parts of Wayanad constituency as well.

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