Ahead of the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, roadside vendors at Rameswaram on Monday said that they will vote for the party that will work for their welfare.
Rameswaram has more than 2,000 roadside small vendors out of which only 147 are municipal approved.
The Rameswaram temple gate, Agni Tirtha beach and other popular spots are frequented by tourists and pilgrims who buy conch, oyster, sovi and decorative items with Rudraksh and crystals.
The street vendors, whose business was thriving before the pandemic induced curfew, are now struggling for their livelihood.
Many vendors said that they have not received the financial assistance announced by the central government for small scale street vendorsin the form of loans of Rs 10,000 during the curfew period.
Ansari, a roadside vendor said, "Before the pandemic people used to buy conches, Now no one buys it. They do not have the money. Finance Minister said that Rs 10,000 would be given as loans, one year back. Half of the eligible recipients including myself have not still received the money."
"We will only vote for the party that promises our welfare," he further said.
Rajamckam, another roadside vendor, said, "The pandemic has had a heavy impact on our lives. It is even hard to earn Rs 200 a day. We will vote for the party who promises to do good for roadside vendors"
Nagaraj, a roadside vendor, said, "Before the pandemic, our businesses were doing well. We were able to take care of our families."
He also stated that he would vote for a party that pays attention to the plight of small-scale vendors.
The Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in the state with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other.
( With inputs from ANI )
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