Belagavi: Anxious to mop up as many votes as possible, political parties have begun to locate the thousands of migrant workers living on the state's border with Maharashtra in Belagavi district and make sure they vote.
Many of the workers have migrated from parts of Raibag, Athani and Chikkodi to border areas of Maharashtra in search of labour.
They set out for work to the neighbouring state after Deepavali every year and stay there until the onset of the monsoon doing odd jobs for a living.
For the past one week, local leaders and workers from different political parties have been busy gathering the contacts of all migrant workers in an attempt to trace them. According to a migrant daily-wage worker from Athani, Sangappa Sorad, who is currently working at Karad in Maharashtra, most migrant workers come under pressure during elections to the Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat, Gram Panchayat and Assembly. Many are able to get r voter IDs on both sides of the border because they live half the year on either side.
“We have raised several problems faced by daily-wage labourers on the border when political parties approach us and ask them to find a solution to them. However, we have been struggling to lead our lives for many decades facing the same problems which have remained unresolved. None of the parties want to resolve such issues, and are only power hungry,”' regrets Mr Sangappa.
Many supporters of candidates in the fray for assembly elections believe the votes of thousands of migrant workers will play a crucial role in the elections in all constituencies on the border where the victory margin of candidates is narrow....