Jagatsinghpur, April 6 (LocalWire): Bengali and Telugu voters will play a crucial role in deciding the fate of candidates in Paradip and Balikuda-Erasama assembly seats due to their majority, say observers.
According to an official estimate, there’re some 80,000 such voters in the two constituencies, which will go to polls on April 29. They had migrated here some 50 years ago and have been traders or fishermen.
Some Bengali-speaking settlers had migrated from Bangladesh, and gained social acceptability and clout due to the political patronage extended to them by successive governments, a poll observer said.
Politicians are wooing them as they can make or break their chances in the election, he said.
In 2005, some of them had moved the National Human Right Commission and the Odisha High Court after the district administration served them notice under the Foreigners Act. The case is still pending.
Besides Bengali voters, there is also a 10,000-strong Telgu fishermen community from Andhra Pradesh especially in the Sandhkuda area of Paradip.
The Telugu voters here had supported Congress and BJD in the past. However, there’s a growing resentment in the community this time for not fulfilling their long-standing demands by these parties.
They had been demanding schools, auction hall and other facilities at the harbor, as well as better price for their harvest. They have also complained of not being paid their due compensation promised by the government for the fishing ban during the turtle nesting season.