PATNA—With a huge population of dejected migrant workers returning homes from various States set to impact the outcome the coming Bihar assembly elections barely five months away, the main Opposition RJD has gone all out to woo them.
The RJD believes this is the perfect time to go near the disappointed lot and apply balms on their wounds by promising welfare measures for them if it returns to power.
Under part of the strategy, the state RJD president Jagadanand Singh has instructed his party workers to rush to the railway stations and accord warm welcome to the labourers returning homes by trains. Singh said if possible the returning migrants must be welcomed with garlands but in no circumstances the rule of social distancing should be broken.
According to him, the party workers must do something to make the labourers believe they are not alone at this time of crisis and provide all support to them.
“The party workers must go to the nearest railway stations and welcome the returning migrants with all warmth, if possible with garlands.
This is the time you should do something for the masses in distress and make them believe you are with them,” Singh told the party workers. He also asked the party workers to keep a close watch on the facilities being provided to the labourers at the quarantine centres and highlight the mismanagements prevailing there.
Thousands of migrant workers kept at the state-run quarantine centres have gone on the rampage across the states, complaining lack of quality and adequate food, absence of potable water, unhygienic conditions and no bed facilities at the quarantine centres.
There is no district in the state from where the incidents of angry protests have not been reported. Currently, a total of 1,32,226 migrant labourers are staying at the quarantine centres, according to disaster management principal secretary Pratyay Amrit.
Leaving nothing to chance, chief minister Nitish Kumar who heads the ruling JD-U too is making every possible bids to calm down anger of the returning migrants.
Apart from crediting Rs1,000 to the bank accounts of migrant labourers, he is also paying the train fares of the returnees and announced to pay Rs500 to each of them at the time of leaving for homes from the quarantine centres.
He is also providing clothes, soaps, mosquito nets as well as utensils to all those kept at the quarantine centres. Apart from this, the government is making promise to give employments in various schemes and has already begun mapping their skills to keep their hope for jobs alive.
According to a report of the state government, the total number of migrant labourers from Bihar is around 30 lakhs.
This is the number of people who got themselves registered with the state government for getting monetary benefit of Rs1,000 but unofficial reports suggest their number could be more than 50 lakh since many are those who don’t have smart phones and are not familiar with the technology to avail benefits.
The anger griping the returning migrant workers, thus, could indeed influence the poll results.