Political parties can no more ignore the hawkers, as they have united to play a big role in deciding the fate of candidates this Lok Sabha polls.
Over one lakh Ranchi hawkers, including their family members, for the first time are planning to cast their votes in a bulk, as they want proper implementation of the Street Vendors Act, 2014. The Act recently got clearance from the Rajya Sabha.
Even though they have not yet decided which party to support, they would like to pay back the Congress for the new Act. However, they would support the party only when sitting MP Subodh Kant Sahai is given the party ticket from Ranchi.
“Sahai had supported our cause a lot in the Parliament and took up our issue to the Prime Minister. We want that he should be given the ticket from Ranchi,” Anita Das, the general secretary of Ranchi Footpath Dukandar Hawkers’ Sangh (RHDHS), said.
She added they would write a letter to the Congress high command by Tuesday evening in this regard.
Sahai’s name did not figure in the first list released by the Congress. There is speculation that the party may deny him ticket this time and may field a celebrity candidate from the seat. However, the doubt over his ticket will be cleared in the second list which will probably come out on Wednesday.
According to RHDHS, the number of street vendors in the state capital is around 30,000. “The number of voters would cross over 1 lakh if their family members are included,” Das added.
Shaktiman Ghosh, the general secretary of the National Hawkers’ Federation (NHF), said hawkers have been exercising their franchise according to their choice. “This time, they may favour the party that has protected their livelihood rights and social security by passing a historic Street Vendors’ Bill 2014,” he said.