Inspired by TV campaigns asking people to vote, Bimla Devi (40), a slum-dweller from the nomadic Gaadi Luhar community, also wants to vote. Unfortunately, like lakhs of other nomads, she does not figure in electoral rolls despite claiming to have lived in Gurgaon for the last 30 years.
The mother of seven children, none of whom go to sc, hool, said, “We have more than 1,000 families in Gurgaon and none of them have voter ID cards. I have never cast my vote. But this time, I am inspired by TV campaigns about voting.”
About 5,000 people of the nomadic communities, including Banjaras, Gaadi Luhars, Kalanders, Madaris, Nats, Saperas, Gawarias and others settled in the slums of Gurgaon Parliamentary Constituency marched to the Gurgaon district magistrate’s office and submitted a memorandum under the banner of Bharatiya Ghumantu Beghar Kissan Kamera Sangharsh Samiti.
Pushpender Kaur Uldepur, national president of the Samiti, claimed that Gurgaon Parliamentary Constituency had more than 2.5 lakh people of nomadic communities whose names did not figure in electoral rolls.
“Neither politicians nor government officials ever bothered to bring nomads in the mainstream of democracy and let them choose their candidate. They might be nomads as a community, but are now almost settled for 20-40 years.” said Uldepur.
Mat weaver Inder Kumar Vaid is one of the hundreds of nomads who are settled in shanties opposite Government College, Mehrauli Road for about 30 years.
“Once, some people visited our jhuggies and took down the names and other particulars of family members. They had promised to include our names in the electoral rolls. They never returned. We are more than 500 families in Gurgaon but none of us has ever voted,” he said. The Samiti claimed that while a small number of people from the nomad community were issued ration cards and voter ID cards in other parts of Haryana, none at all had received these in Gurgaon constituency.
Deputy commissioner and district electoral officer Deepti Umashankar said no one was denied inclusion in the electoral rolls. She said she was not aware of the number of nomads. “We have included names in the electoral rolls till April 8, even after summary revision was over. Those interested, should have availed of this opportunity.”