Bihar election gets a new political constituency - over 16 lakh migrant workers
Among the lakhs of migrant workers who returned to the state in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, over 16 lakh such workers can cast their vote in the Bihar assembly elections, according to the Election Commission data.
These assembly elections are first to be conducted anywhere in the country ever since the virus outbreak, with over 7.2 crore electors participating in the democratic exercise.
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday announced that the state will go to polls in three phases with voting to be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Results of the polls will be declared on November 10.
The election will see chief minister Nitish Kumar seek a fourth consecutive term. His Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Lok Janshakti Party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and smaller parties form the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which will square off against a fractured Grand Alliance fronted by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress, Left parties and others.
One of India’s more impoverished states, Bihar is currently battling the aftermath of devastating floods that displaced 8 million people. The return of thousands of migrant workers during the pandemic is also set to change the electoral map in large parts of the state.
According to the EC data, 18.87 lakh migrant workers are spread across 38 districts of Bihar. Of these, 16.6 lakh are eligible to vote with 13.93 already on the electoral rolls for the elections. Arora on Friday had announced that another 2.3 lakh have already been added to the rolls, as continuous updation takes place.
The issue of migrant workers has been one of the opposition’s mainstays, as a huge number of workers were forced to return home in the wake of the pandemic. Job losses and lack of opportunities as families struggled to cope with the outbreak.
According to Congress’ Bihar in-charge, Shaktisinh Gohil, the workers are very unhappy with the ruling parties at the state and central level.