Upset over government and local representatives’ failure to do the needful in improving the condition of weaver community, its members on Saturday decided to boycott elections scheduled in the sixth phase in Gorakhpur on March 4.
Areas surrounding the Gorakhnath temple has a large population of Muslim weavers in localities like Rasoolpur, Chaksa- Hussain among others where posters banning entry of candidates have been put up as part of community's call to boycott elections.
“This election we have decided not to vote for any party as none of them have done enough to improve the lot of weavers who are battling to survive when inflations is high and income is poor,” said Obaid ur Rehman, a local powerloom owner in Rasoolpur who was among 100 unit owners who shut down their units in past few days owing to losses incurred to the establishment .
Like him other unit owners too sold their power loom machines at throw away prices in scraps. Each unit has several weavers operating power loom machines to weave clothes. Rehman opined that manifestoes released by parties have nothing for weavers and the community was also ignored in the recently presented budget. “In 1993 handloom weavers would get Rs 5 for weaving every 10 metre of cloth but now when the prices of essential commodities are touching the sky high, order providers give just Rs 3.10 paise for weaving the same length of cloth on power loom. It made survival difficult . So most weavers left weaving and have switched over to other jobs. Following losses most of powerloom units are getting closed " said Rehman, whose father and forefathers also relied on handloom works to make ends meet.
Kamruzzama, a leader from weaver community, said the government had launched several welfare schemes for the community but most of them do not reach the intended beneficiary due to corruption and lax approach. “Weavers comprise a major chunk of Muslim voters in Gorakhpur urban assembly seat .Any boycott call made by them can change political equation here,” he added.