They have not voted for 10 years

While Pune district was busy getting their fingers inked, the family of sugarcane cutters from Malegaon once again missed exercising their right to vote. More than 100 families from Malegaon could not vote as they are engaged in the sugarcane fields and can’t go back till April 28.

Hari Sonawane and his family have been travelling from one sugarcane field to other in Junnar, Khed and Ambegaon for the last six months. This was the second Lok Sabha election that the Sonawane family missed as they were away from their hometown.

“Our names appear in the electoral roll of our village and we had voted for the panchayat elections. No one even called us to inform about the polls,” he said.

Asked when he had voted last, Sonawane was not able to remember. “Ours is a vagabond lifestyle and there is no way we could go back home to vote. Also, as I said, we did not know about the ongoing election much,” he said.

Along with Sonawane, the families of eight of his brothers too were unable to cast their vote as they are all away from their village in Malegaon. “In all, there are around 50 of us on the move, and none of us were able to vote,” he said.

Rough estimates say more than 500 families from Malegaon are in Pune at present working as sugarcane cutters.