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Belagavi: Thousands of migrant workers from state’s border with Maharashtra in Belagavi district are being traced by political parties and leaders with elections round the corner. Many of them migrate from parts of Raibag, Athani and Chikkodi regions to border areas of Maharashtra in search of labour and stay there for more than five to six months once they get the works. All the migrant labourers are now in high demand as attempts are being made on the border by leaders to bring them back on May 12 for the votes.

In large groups, migrant workers set out for works to neighbouring Maharashtra after Deepavali every year and stay there until the onset of monsoon doing odd jobs for wages. Several of their relatives and family members stay back home doing works on daily wages. For the past one week, local leaders and workers from different political parties are busy gathering the contacts of all migrant workers in an attempt to trace them on the other side of the border. With the help of their relatives, phone calls are being made by politicians to the workers making an appeal to them to be ready to rush back home to exercise their franchise.

According to a migrant daily-wage worker from Athani, Sangappa Sorad, who is currently working at Karad in Maharashtra, most of migrant workers from the border are remembered by leaders during all elections including those to Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat, Gram Panchayat and Assembly. The leaders exert pressure at regular intervals on migrant workers and their elders to make sure that most of migrants headed back home for elections. “As assured, the politicians take us home in many vehicles when elections are round the corner and make it a point to drop us back to the work spot later. Election time is a kind of jatra for all migrant workers who come back to their homes in large groups in vehicles, enjoy four to five days of stay at home until the elections got over,” he adds.

Many of migrant workers are able to get their voter IDs on both sides of the border for staying half the year on either sides. If sources are to be believed, many leaders in Maharashtra where they worked do the same exercise to trace them in Karnataka in times of elections there. Those migrant workers who return back home are traced by Maharashtra’s politicians and taken away for voting, sources added.

Sangappa said, they were being loved by politicians and traced only during the elections and never came across any of these leaders until next elections were held.