Migrants emerging an essential vote bank in Amritsar

  • | Wednesday | 15th November, 2023

AMRITSAR: Despite having resided in the region for multiple generations, the people from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar continue to encounter the stigma of being referred to as "bhaiyaee" and struggle for acceptance within the societal framework. However, their substantial voting bloc remains influential, prompting politicians to actively engage with them, promising equal standing and the resolution of various concerns including cancellation of their voting and ration cards even as nearly 15 migrant candidates from the community are contesting the upcoming Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) elections.Ram Bhavan Goswami of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Parishad, informed that the migrant voter population in Amritsar was around 1.35 lakh, concentrated in Amritsar West, Central, East, North, and South assembly constituencies. Goswami said that these migrants, spanning up to the fourth generation, had established a stable presence in Amritsar, owning their own houses and possessing essential documents such as electricity bills, ration cards, and voter cards. "The migrant community represents a significant and influential voting bloc across all assembly constituencies. If our voter cards had not been canceled, we would have contributed a minimum of 3 lakh votes solely from the UP and Bihari migrant population", claimed Goswami.However, he regretted that despite their long-standing presence, their migrant community had not fully integrated into society and they continue to be commonly referred to as "bhaiyaee" by nearly everyone, except for the educated class. He lamented that this stigma had created a division between the migrant population and the rest of society, marking an unfortunate and undesired separation.Arjun Yadav, the president of Rashtriya Bihar Manch, alleged that there was a covert conspiracy underway to invalidate the voter cards and ration cards of migrants who had been residing in the region for the past three to four generations. Yadav said that the community had a full commitment to the local society, and proudly identified themselves as residents of Punjab. He, however alleged that certain elements, motivated by envy, were conspiring to cancel their essential documents such as ration cards and voter cards.Goswami said that during the ensuing AMC elections, as many as 15 candies from Bihar and UP communities were contesting the elections. Among other demands, he said they had asked the Punjab government to provide an exclusive place to celebrate the Chatth festival.

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