These nomads from AP's Krishna district will vote for the first time -T Appala Naidu

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published Published on Mar 22, 2019   modified Modified on Mar 22, 2019
-The Hindu

MACHILIPATNAM (Andhra Oradesh): A group of 10 unsung volunteers has helped almost 2,000 fellow Yanadi tribal people to enrol as voters, enabling them to exercise their right to franchise in the general elections 2019.

A nomadic tribe, the Yanadi in Krishna district have constantly been on the move in search of livelihood opportunities from one season to the next. With a large number of families living in the mangrove forests and marshy lands to hunt wild crabs and fish and often travelling from place to place, the officials found it difficult to meet them.

“The nature of livelihood practices of our tribe is the prime impediment to taking part in societal activities,” said Nakka Vijaya Babu, the 36-year-old leader of the volunteer group of tribals. “Lack of education would further distance our tribe from awareness of our political rights and the importance of our vote,” he added, claiming that nearly half of the newly enrolled voters had only recently become eligible to vote.

The volunteer group had focused on the six mandals of Nagayalanka, Koduru, Machilipatnam, Pedana, Bantumilli, and Krithivennu, where they covered 1,520 families with a total population of 4,597.

In 2016, the group had registered a society — Krishna District Yanadi Girijana Aikya Sangham — in order to be directly involved in creating awareness on education and identification of various government welfare schemes.

Towards greater inclusion

Bhavanari Pawan Kumar, an undergraduate dropout, Ila Nagendramma, and M. Srinivas are the other members of the group that zeroed in on the Yanadi families to help them enrol for the voter registration process and submit the necessary documents. In 2016, then Joint Collector Gandham Chandrudu had initiated a special drive to issue Aadhaar cards to the Yanadi tribals.

In 2013, 45-year-old crab hunter Nakka Hanumanthu had contested from Marripalem panchayat in Diviseema, thus becoming the first person from the Yanadi tribe to contest in the local body elections since Independence.

Until now, no political party has considered the Yanadi tribe’s votes as significant. In the existing political scenario, the Yanadis are likely to draw attention from all the political parties competing in Machilipatnam.

“Many in the age group of 20-40 would be voting for the first time in the forthcoming elections,” Mr. Vijaya Babu said.
The Hindu, 21 March, 2019, please click here to access

The Hindu, 21 March, 2019,

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