Pourakarmikas enter poll fray in Mysuru City Corporation elections

MYSURU: The ‘Heritage City’ has thrice been adjudged the cleanest – in 2018’s Swachh Survekashan, Mysuru was declared ‘Cleanest Medium-sized city’ – in the country, and it is hard not to overstate the role essayed by the indefatigable in helping Mysuru bag the top slot. Now, these warriors of hygiene, whose efforts often go underappreciated, and worse, sporadically unpaid, have decided to play a more proactive role in the city’s affairs – five members from the families of civic workers have decided to throw their hat in the ring in this year’s () council elections.
While three of these candidates will be contesting on BJP tickets, both Congress and JD(S) are fielding one member from a pourakarmika family each.

The son of pourakarmikas Rama and Rangamma, 49-year-old Subramani worked as a contracted civic worker for the Karnataka Electricity Board (KEB) for 32 years but his employment was never regularised. Despite having discontinued his education, and spent the better part of his youth toiling away, Subramani had no security. “Many of my relatives too are pourakarmikas. I have organised several protests demanding regularisation, but to no avail. So, I decided to quit my job and contest the council elections to fight for the rights of my community,” Subramani, who is fighting the polls on a BJP ticket at Gayatripuram I Stage, told TOI.

R Puja and Shanthamma Vadivelu are the two other pourakarmikas to whom the BJP has given tickets from Gousia Nagar A Block and Visvesvaranagar respectively. Congress, meanwhile, is fielding K Nagaratna from JP Nagar, who will be pitted against HS Vasanthi, whose nmother works as a pourakarmika in KR Nagar, of the JD(S).

“Besides my mother, my in-laws work as pourakarmikas with the MCC,” Vasanthi said. Her husband Nagaraj, an artist, told TOI that he had witnessed the travails and troubles faced by the community first-hand, and believed that political strength would lead them out of the pit. “This is why I decided that my wife should fight the election. I hope she wins the polls by a huge margin,” Nagaraj said.

On the other hand, Shanthamma expressed fears of Congress’ Nagaratna dividing the community’s votes. “We have requested the leaders of the pourakarmika community to convince the Congress against fielding her. We hope Nagaratna supports us for the welfare of the entire community,” Shanthamma’s husband Vadivelu said.

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