×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Gujjar-Bakarwals' seasonal migration during polls worries political parties

The Gujjar-Bakarwals form a significant vote bank, especially in the Rajouri and Poonch districts, which are part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 22:08 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 22:08 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Srinagar: As the warmth of spring awakens the land, the Gujjar-Bakerwal communities in Jammu and Kashmir have started to embark on their seasonal journey, herding their livestock to graze on the lush greenery of the high-altitude meadows.

This year, however, their migration coincides with the fervour of the Lok Sabha elections, stirring ripples of concern among political parties in the region. The Gujjar-Bakarwals form a significant vote bank, especially in the Rajouri and Poonch districts, which are part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.

Over 38 per cent of voters from the Gujjar-Bakerwal communities reside in the Rajouri and Poonch districts. While the seasonal migration starts in the first week of April every year, it gradually picks up, and by May 7, the day of polling for the Anantnag seat, most of the migratory voters are expected to have relocated to the mountain pastures.

Political parties are worried that the migration is bound to upset their poll calculations. With election campaigns in full swing, the absence of a substantial portion of the electorate during crucial polling days could harm the chances of the National Conference (NC) candidate from the Anantnag seat, Mian Altaf.

Altaf is locked in a triangular contest with two former chief ministers, Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) and Ghulam Nabi Azad. The BJP is yet to declare its candidate, which will further complicate the poll calculations.

Altaf is the third generation of a family that has never lost an assembly election since 1952 and is the hereditary spiritual leader of the Gujjar community. 

Senior vice president and chief spokesperson of the Congress, Ravinder Sharma, urged the Election Commission to devise a mechanism to ensure the participation of these communities in the voting process.

“Both Udhampur and Jammu parliament constituencies, besides Anantnag-Rajouri, have a sizable population of Gujjar-Bakerwal and other Scheduled Tribe communities, most of whom are nomads. A mechanism must be devised for their full participation in the voting process,” he demanded.

In the midst of the election hullabaloo, the Gujjar-Bakarwals continue their timeless tradition, guided by the age-old wisdom passed down through generations. For them, the migration is not just about tending to their livestock or seeking greener pastures—it's a bond with the land, a testament to their resilience, and a celebration of their cultural heritage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 14 April 2024, 22:08 IST

Deccan Herald is on WhatsApp Channels | Join now for Breaking News & Editor's Picks

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT