According to sources when the Telangana Panchayat Raj Act was passed in the state assembly this year, tribal settlements known as “thandas” were converted into gram panchayats. Meanwhile as the state heads to the polls in December, these thandas will not get any dedicated polling booths from the Telangana State Election Commission, says S Ramulu Naik, a Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from Narayanketh.
Accordingly Thandas are habitations of tribals, mostly from the Lambada and Banjara communities in the state. Telangana has a tribal population of 31.78 lakh with 32 tribal communities forming 9.08% of the state's population. Furthermore when polling opens on December 7, booths will be set up in 4,380 new gram panchayats, in addition to the previous 12,741 gram panchayats in the state. Presently there is no plan currently in place for the 1,300 thandas to get their own booths, says Ramulu, who reached out to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar of the Telangana State Election Commission on Thursday.
Moreover Ramulu pointed out that these tribal voters, most of whom are laborers, will be discouraged from voting if they’re forced to travel without proper public transportation. Ramulu alleged "Often when the tribals walk to the nearest gram panchayats, miscreants stand in the way and beat them up to deter the voters from exercising their voting rights and hence the voters who get beaten up, they turn back to their thandas and warn others about the miscreants”.
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