The Bihar Post

Losing all savings on poll campaigns, Bihar migrants head for industrial cities once again

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PATNA—With the month-long festival season now over and quite many of them losing elections for various posts in the three-tier panchayat (village council) elections, migrant workers are slowly leaving for industrial cities to get jobs and support their families.

This year, festival season coincided with the lengthy Panchaya polls spread over four months. So quite many migrant workers also tried their luck in the elections in a bid to switch over to politics, considered quite lucrative right now.

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Although it is not officially known how many of them emerged victorious but the local media had reported that many such migrants didn’t have good experience of jumping into the poll area as they lost all savings to run the poll campaigns without tasting success.

A case in point is Sonu Kumar Rishi, a resident of Babhni panchayat in Purnia district, who has virtually turned a pauper after the polls. “I spent whatever I had and now I have turned a pauper. I am leaving for Delhi to compensate for the loss,” says Rishi who works as a construction worker. He got just 245 votes.

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The story of Khokha Rai, another migrant worker from Purnia, is even more disturbing. Rai had borrowed Rs500,000 from friends and the family to contest panchayat elections.

“I spent all the money on poll campaigns but lost polls. My zeal is intact though and will again contest the next elections,” says Rai who polled 548 votes and finished a distant third. Sankar Rishi and Heera Lal Roy have similar stories.

According to a report, some 2,000 migrant workers tried their luck in the panchayat elections in the Purnia Division comprising Purnia, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar districts. The border districts infamous for poverty have large number of migrant workers and hence they witnesses mass exodus of workers every year.

The sights of these migrant workers scrambling to board trains for Delhi and various industrial cities are quite common in north-eastern Bihar right now. The exodus has also picked momentum with majority of them getting the Covid vaccines.

The 11-phase panchayat elections which began just before Durga puja on 24 September will conclude on 12 December. Bihar is holding elections to elect 2,55,000 panchayat representatives for various posts. They include 8,072 Mukhiya, 113,307 Panchayat member, 11,104 panchayat samiti members, 1,160 zila parishad members, 8,072 Sarpanch and 113,307 gram kutchery panchs.

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