Telangana parties reach out to migrants outside State

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Telangana parties reach out to migrants outside State

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Makthal in Mahabubnagar district campaigns in Makthal (Photo for representational purpose only)

Telangana elections are not being fought on the Telangana soil alone but even at distant places where the local residents have migrated to places in various parts of the country in search of livelihood.

Mumbai, Pune, Solapur and Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, Surat in Gujarat, Raichur and Bengaluru in Karnataka are a few places where the political parties and the candidates have ramped up their campaigning with ‘Aatmeeya Sammelanams’ (friendly get-togethers) involving the local Telugu and Telangana associations.

Representatives of MLA candidates of all political parties have reached out to people in several cities in Maharashtra where a large number of Telangana locals reside for their work. These migrants continue to maintain relations with their villages back home, including the names in the voters’ list as their families continue to live there.

This trend of Aatmeeya Sammelanams is seen particularly among the leaders from the combined Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts, from where people have migrated to several cities in Maharashtra. Recently, some supporters of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Makthal constituency Varkatam Jagannath Reddy reached out to people in Pune. “They are our people and we want them to come back and vote here in Telangana,” says Mr. Reddy.

His friends organised a couple of meetings in areas near Mumbai and Pune and also in Raichur in Karnataka, which abuts Makthal town. “Though they live in other States, Telangana is their home after all. Most of them continue to be voters here as they fear losing ration cards if their names are not in the voters’ list,” explains Alex, a follower of Mr. Reddy.

Free travel promise

The neighbouring Narayanpet constituency is the source of workers in the construction and textile industries in areas in and around Mumbai, Pune and Bhiwandi. The numbers are in the thousands and candidates from all the parties are promising them free travel to their respective homes and back to Mumbai two days before November 30, when Telangana goes to the polls.

More than inducements like money, the migrants see this as a free trip home and back, apart from an opportunity to vote in their villages. “It is like a reunion free of cost for the majority,” agrees a ruling party supporter organising these meetings.

One of the MLA aspirants from Wanaparthy has involved the relatives of the migrants and that group has been sent to the cities across Maharashtra and Karnataka. Candidates are also personally calling up the community leaders of the migrants as they are tight-knit groups to impress upon them. Similar groups of all parties from the Kodangal constituency where TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy is contesting also held several meetings.

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