KARNATAKA

Children canvass for independent

Young workers: Children campaigning for Hiriyur independent candidate D. Sudhakar outside his house in Hiriyur on Thursday.

Young workers: Children campaigning for Hiriyur independent candidate D. Sudhakar outside his house in Hiriyur on Thursday.  

Firoz Rozindar

Campaigning for the candidate for an entire day fetches them Rs. 50 each

Hiriyur (Chitradurga): “We have been given food and money to canvas for Sudhakar.” This was the innocent admission of several children who were found campaigning for Congress rebel candidate of Hiriyur constituency, D. Sudhakar.

Roaming outdoors in the scorching summer is the job of over 50 children, aged between 7 and 16.

They spend the entire day canvassing for a daily payment of Rs. 50.

Most of the children are from poor families whose parents are either working as labourers or have petty businesses.

Krishna, an 8th standard student told The Hindu that he had been canvassing for the candidate for the past one week. “I get Rs. 50 a day some of which I give to my mother and some I keep to myself,” he said.

His younger brother Ganesh, who looks around seven years of age, gets Rs. 30 a day.

Swamy, another boy studying in first year PUC said that Mr. Sudhakar pays Rs. 100 to those who are about 16 years of age, while for younger children, the amount varies between Rs. 30 and Rs. 70.

Mr. Sudhakar was denied a ticket by the Congress to contest for Hiriyur, which prompted him to contest as an independent candidate.

At his home, several members of Stree Shakti Self-Help Groups, along with children were seen having a meal. Mangala, a member of Tulasi Stree Shakti Group, said that the women members of the SHGs received Rs. 50 a day to campaign, beside two meals a day.

There are allegations that since Mr. Sudhakar is the president of the DCC bank, the SHG members have to support him as they receive financial aid from the bank.





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