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No shifting their desire to vote

delhi Updated: May 08, 2009 00:59 IST
Avishek G Dastidar
Avishek G Dastidar
Hindustan Times
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No shifting their desire to vote

At 9 a.m., barely two hours into voting, polling stations across Nasirpur and Mahavir Enclave—in West Delhi constituency—had serpentine queues outside them.

Women dressed in their best and accompanied by their men, crowded the booths at a time when in other places, people were just beginning to trickle in. “It is an opportunity for us to help someone like us elect from Delhi,” said Tinku Singh (28) a mobile repair technician in the unauthorised colony of Mahavir Enclave near Dwarka, talking about supporting Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra.

“For those like me, who came from other states and are trying to plant myself in the Capital, it’s it is reassuring that someone like Mishra, who himself came from Bihar only two decades ago, made it big here,” said Singh, originally from Aligarh.

The young migrant workers voted in droves. The Dwarka constituency, which has the largest stretch of migrant voters from Bihar, UP, Orissa, Assam and Bengal in the unauthorised colonies, the turnout was a huge 55 per cent and by 3 p.m., the polling was pretty much done.

“The voter ID card is a very important tool. It makes us legitimate residents and not outsiders. So voting is important,” said Pushpa Majhi, a 30-year-old housewife in Janakpuri, originally from West Bengal. Places like Shahpur Jat, with a sizeable number of migrants from Bengal and Bihar living as skilled labourers, had a high turnout.

Dipankar Gupta, political analyst from JNU, says that for migrants, voting in Delhi is not about issues like terrorism or price rise, but about planting themselves in this “foreign land”. “The voting right is, therefore, a utility, which they value more than someone who was born and raised here,” he says.