The Great March; no relief.

The Great March; no relief.

Migrants could hold key to Bihar polls; to be wooed after being abandoned

Govt put number of returnee migrants at 25 lakh; 15 lakh could get to vote

Agency Report | Patna | 11 June, 2020 | 11:00 PM

All political parties in Bihar are out to woo lakhs of migrant workers and labourers who have come home in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown. The elections are due in the state later this year.

Government figures put the number of these returnee migrants at around 25 lakh. At least 15 lakh of them have spent days in various quarantine centres in the state. Plus, hundreds of them have also simply walked back home, cycled or have traveled by buses and other means. Many among them don’t figure in the voter list while others have recently attained the legal voting age.

Bihar election commission has made it clear that a special campaign will be launched to include the names of migrant workers in the voters’ list. It is believed that the number of voters this time would go up by at least 15 lakh. The state at present has 7 crore, 18 lakh voters.

In the last assembly polls in 2015, the margin of victory and defeat on an average was by around 30,000 votes. So, that is one of the reasons why state parties are trying to chase these migrants, although it is a fact that these migrants are not concentrated in one area of the state.

The ruling JD-U-BJP combine claims to have provided all facilities to these migrants, whereas the Opposition has targeted the government on various fronts, including inability of the government to provide jobs to these migrants.

Bihar’s Information and Public Relations Minister Neeraj Kumar says the government is constantly reviewing the Covid-19 situation and all possible action is being taken.

“The government has so far spent Rs 8,538 crore on various relief measures to fight corona pandemic. The government has also approved Rs 730 crore for the farmers whose crops have been damaged. A Rs 180-crore fund has been set up to fight the pandemic in terms of making available healthcare facilities, equipment and medicines,” said Neeraj Kumar.

Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav keeps targeting the government over lack of facilities for the migrant workers. His party, the RJD has alleged that the Centre and the state government have done nothing for the migrants and left them to their fate. (IANS)