Sunday, May 16, 2021

National

Panchayat polls bring back migrants in UP

IANS | April 13, 2021 07:37 PM

LUCKNOW: It is not only the fear of a lockdown that is bringing back migrant workers from Maharashtra -- it is also the Panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh that is a major factor for their return.

Huge crowds are returning to their homes in trains from Maharashtra that is one of the worst affected states in the second Covid wave.

Salim Ashraf, who works in a garment factory in Kalyan (Maharashtra), said that he had returned to his home with his family because his younger brother is contesting the Panchayat elections.

"My brother Adil is contesting the Panchayat polls and all our relatives are returning home to vote for him. Besides, Ramzan will begin on Wednesday and we will stay here till Eid. Our programme had been planned much earlier and it is a pleasant coincidence that the two occasions are being held together, " he said.

Salim, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh's Basti, said that the fear of lockdown had not driven him home.

"After the experience last year, we are now mentally prepared to face the situation. My employer has already told us to stock up on food and essential items and wait for the worst to get over. In any case, the situation in UP is equally bad. The majority of workers from UP will not rush back home this time, " he explained.

Ravi Kant and his brother Mani Kant are heading towards Sultanpur, mainly for the Panchayat elections.

Mani Kant quietly admits that one of the candidates in the Panchayat polls had sent them train tickets so that they could be back home for polling.

He informs that most of the Panchayat candidates are sending tickets to their 'voters'.

"It is a common practice and almost all my friends in Mumbai who work with me as technical assistants in film shoots, are returning home because the candidates have sent them tickets. Of course, it has made it easier for us to return because most film shootings have been stopped due to Covid spread, " he said.

A Zila Panchayat candidate in Amethi, admitted that other candidates are sending tickets to people, from their villages, to return for polling.

"People are coming in from Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Surat to cast their votes, " he said.

The candidates admit that they do not mind spending so much money inviting voters from far flung places because the 'stakes are high'.

"Candidates are spending money because getting elected also means a lot of money, " said a former village head in Ayodhya district.

As for corona returning with full force, one of the migrants, Sushil Kumar, said, "We have overcome the fear of corona. It has been over a year and we have learnt to live with the virus. We cannot stop living anymore because of the virus."

Have something to say? Post your comment