As the state of Karnataka gears up for the assembly elections, a significant portion of the population, particularly the Jenu Kuruba community from Thithimathi in South Kodagu, remain unaware of the candidates contesting the polls. According to a report by The Hindu, members of the tribe have not seen even a single candidate coming to take notice of their grievances.
Abbi, a 38-year-old member of the tribe, stated that no political party reached out to them. A 55-year-old Jenu Kuruba woman also shared that she has been voting for years, but has never seen any candidates or their MLA in their locality.
The Nagarahole National Park in Kodagu district and Hunsur in Mysuru district are home to nearly 60 haadis, with the majority of the people living in the haadis being either Jenu Kurubas, Kadu Kurubas, or Yerrawa community members. Another woman from the community stated that election commission officers approached them to tell them about the elections, but no candidate followed up after that. Manu also stated that the community has detached themselves from the government, as nothing changes in their lives anyways.
Jenu Kuruba Community The report also carried the version of the local panchayat, which claimed that they have conducted awareness drives in the villages to spread more knowledge about voting.
The lack of political engagement with the community raises concerns about their representation in the democratic process. The upcoming elections, scheduled for May 10, 2023, will be a crucial test for candidates to engage with the Jenu Kuruba community and other marginalised groups, and work towards their inclusion and development.