Having faced and understood the tough situations that immigrants undergo there, these candidates are fighting the elections with individually secured finances.
The number of their supporters may be small, but that does deter them from highlighting the specific cause of Gulf workers’ welfare. Five candidates stand out in their pursuit of public mandate from the constituencies of Siricilla, Vemulawada, Nirmal, Korutla, and Dharmapuri in northern Telangana. Four of them are contesting on All India Forward Bloc tickets, while Donikeni Krishna, representing the Gulf Workers Awareness Centre, is running independently from Sircilla constituency.
Their symbols AIFB (lion) and Mr.Krishna (TV remote) are different “but our cause is same”, says Manda Bheem Reddy of Gulf Workers Joint Action Committee. “We have a single point agenda of securing Gulf Welfare Board (on the lines of Pravasi Welfare Board in Kerala) with comprehensive NRI policy,” he adds.
This quintet is different from candidates of other political parties in many ways. All of them have worked in Gulf countries as labourers at one point or the other. Having faced and understood the tough situations that immigrants undergo there, these candidates are fighting the elections with individually secured finances and that too with the sole purpose of ensuring a policy for the welfare of immigrant workers in Gulf countries, says Mr.Bheem Reddy.
G.Ravi Goud (Vemulawada), Swadesh Parikipandla (Nirmal), Chennamaneni Srinivasa Rao (Korutla), Kantha (Dharmapuri) and D.Krishna (Sircilla) are confident of making a difference in this Assembly election. “Ours is a single community of Gulf workers, and their family members are our activists and supporters,” maintains Mr.Krishna.
There are no huge convoys of vehicles or hordes of supporters following them in their election campaign. With a handful of friends and well wishers, they are going door to door requesting people to vote for their cause. Mr.Krishna feels that he and other four contestants already emerged victorious to some extent as mainstream political parties like Congress, BJP and BSP had included welfare of Gulf workers in their respective manifestos.
According to him, nearly 10 lakh individuals from different parts of Telangana are working in Gulf countries. From getting cheated by travel agents to illegal confinement by employers to ending up behind the bars due to lack of understanding of the laws there, Telangana workers were facing multiple problems. “Whatever the election result, we will continue to highlight our issues,” says Mr.Krishna.