With just one day remaining for the first phase of panchayat elections, scheduled to be held on July 23, candidates in fray for the posts of sarpanch and ward members with backing by different political parties are leaving no stone unturned to register victory. After wooing the local voters with liquor, money and other incentives, the candidates are now targeting the people, who had migrated to far-off places in search of livelihood.
After the notification for the much-awaited and delayed panchayat polls was issued in the first week of July, villages have become a hub of intensified political activity, as all the political parties consider panchayat polls as the litmus test for the 2014 general elections.
Further, it is a perfect platform for the political parties to gauge the mood of the people and lay foundation for the general elections from now onwards. Though, the aspirants kick-started the campaign at a slow pace, they gradually intensified their campaign after filing nominations between July 9 to 13.
With only few more hours left for the first phase elections, candidates and their kin, who until now remained pleasing the voters in villages, have started leaving for Hyderabad and Bangalore cities, to please the migrated voters of their villagers currently living in the cities. Especially from Chittoor district, many labourers got migrated to Bangalore city, which is near to the western mandals of the district, while some more workers left for Hyderabad in search of jobs.
However, a majority of migrants have votes in their respective villages and the candidates, after verifying the voter lists left for the towns to woo them and to gets votes in their favour.
They have even decided to pay for the transport fares and other required facilities. Earlier, candidates used to take money along with them for handing over the same to the voters living in cities. However, this time they opted to deposit money in the accounts of migrated voters, as the police had intensified checks and are seizing unaccounted money.
After withdrawal of nomination papers a couple of days back, the candidates who remained in the fray were allocated their respective symbols and they intensified their campaign.
‘’Every vote counts. Till today, we concentrated in the village. Out of all the 1,400 voters in our panchayat, about 200 voters had migrated to Bangalore and Hyderabad. We are now concentrating on them, which will certainly increase our winning chances,’’ said a sarpanch aspirant in Tirupati Rural mandal, which is going for polls on July 23.