Vijayapura sees poor turnout as villagers migrate to Maharashtra, Goa
VIJAYAPURA: Despite steps taken by the district’s Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) committee to increase voter turnout through various awareness programmes in the constituency, polling stations in the region received poor voting response, as half the population in these areas are said to have migrated to urban areas. Vijayapura district has 418 hamlets. A majority of people in these hamlets have migrated to Maharashtra and Goa for a better livelihood. According to the zilla panchayat, 60,000 voters living in these hamlets have migrated, due to which they did not exercise their franchise.
Namdev Rathod (75), a resident of Madhabhavi hamlet, a father of two who voted on Tuesday, told The New Indian Express, “We are voting since decades, but our lifestyle has remained the same and hardly any development has taken place in our village.”
“I asked my sons not to come home just for the sake of voting because we are labour-class people. We earn bread only if we work every day in construction sites. If they come to vote, they need to spend `2,000. We can run a comfortable life for 15 days in that money. Moreover, we won’t get any benefits from the government even if we vote hoping for a better tomorrow,” Namdev added.
This is a story most families here relate to. In Madhabhavi hamlet, 40 out 100 residences were locked and their entrances cordoned off with thorny plants, as the owners of the houses have migrated to urban areas. It is only elders, college students and the sick who stayed back.
Vikas Suralkar, Chief Executive Officer of the ZP, who also heads the SVEEP committee, said, “We have tried to invite migrants to take part in the election process by asking their children to write a letter to their parents. I hope the letter has convinced a few of them at least. At least five members from each family in these hamlets have migrated to other states for jobs.”