Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, 5,000 people from border villages of Athani taluk in Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts, who migrated temporarily to Maharashtra for employment, are in great demand in both the states.
The reason: political parties on both sides use them as vote banks by offering them money.
More than thousand families, most of them from Bijapur and Bagalkot districts, migrate to Sangli, Miraj, Kolhapur, Satara and Karad districts in Maharahstra seeking employment every summer and return in May. Their names have been enrolled in the electoral and national employment guarantee scheme lists compiled by both Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Usually, politicians in Karnataka bring them back for election purposes offering them money. However, this year, since polling is on the same day in both the states, the general consensus among these workers is to vote in Maharashtra as they want to be on good terms with local leaders there.
Ningappa Kannur, a migrant worker from Athani taluk who works in sugarcane fields, told Express that they are confused whether to remain in Mahrashtra or return to Karnataka to vote. He said most of the migrant workers preferred to vote in Maharashtra as they do not want to upset their employers.
Also a few have ideas of settling in Maharashtra. He said there is a high demand for Lambani families from Bijapur and Bagalkot districts, which have more voters.
He said the cash and other gifts being offered in the present election is less compared to local body elections. Also the offer they get in Karnataka from politicos is less when compared to Maharashtra, he said.