The votes of traders and the people dependent upon them for their livelihood will be decisive in deciding the future of the candidates in 195 Lok Sabha constituencies in 19 States, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said here on Friday.
These 195 seats includes three seats in Delhi (Chandni Chowk, New Delhi and South Delhi), 33 seats in Uttar Pradesh (UP), 11 seats in Rajasthan, 13 seats in Gujarat, 21 seats in Maharashtra, 14 seats in Madhya Pradesh, four seats in Chhattisgarh, 16 seats in West Bengal, seven seats in Northeast India, six seats in Jharkhand, 15 seats in Bihar, 16 seats in Tamil Nadu, three seats in Telangana, four seats in Andhra Pradesh, five seats in Kerala, seven seats in Odisha, four seats in Haryana, three seats in Punjab and 10 seats in Karnataka. These seats have dominance and influence of traders whose votes may decide who gets elected in elections.
The prominent seats include Lucknow, Varanasi, Nagpur, Vadodara, Bhuvaneshwar, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Jaipur among others. Out of these 195 seats, about 70 per cent are in urban areas and while the remaining are situated in semi-rural or rural areas.
It is estimated that in these constituencies, traders constitute nearly 40 per cent of the total voters whereas there are about 40 seats in different states where traders can influence the result of the elections with their presence.
According to the traders' body, shops are the best venues for a whisper campaign for/or against any political party. The average footfall in each shop over the country is considered to be about 30 customers every day. Out of which, about 40 per cent are new customers.
CAIT said that if traders start speaking good or bad about any political party with their customers, it can influence the customers' mindset. "Earlier, it was the shop of paanwala , tea vendor or sweet maker where people would discuss politics during elections and form opinion," it said.
Traders grossly neglected
CAIT National President BC Bhartia said that there are about seven crore traders across the country and nearly 30 crore people are dependent upon these traders for their livelihood. If their votes are converted into a vote bank, the election scenario can be changed completely.
He said that trading communities, all over India, feel grossly neglected as their core issues have remained unresolved for many decades.
Bhartia said that in Delhi, the sealing and Rent Act are major issues. Whereas across the country issues that are often addressed include like disadvantage to traders from e-commerce enterprises, impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Single Brand Retail as well as Cash & Carry stores, harassment and victimisation of traders at the hands of tax and other departments and many more.
For detailed coverage:Elections 2019