Politics

Granting Voting Rights To NRI Public Will Expand The Modi Raj

by Giz TimesJune 15, 2015

An NRI account for a huge vote bank and are equally responsible for India’s growth story. Such an initiative of providing voting rights to the NRI People from the Narendra Modi government will ensure that the large population of expatriate Indians has a say in choosing Governments.

Thw Non-resident Indians are as Indians as we are; they just stay in a different place for different reasons.

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) will soon be able to cast their vote through electronic-ballots or through their nominees residing in India but will not be able to exercise their franchise through the novel method during the coming Delhi assembly polls. The voting norms however have been eased to encourage more voting.

The Union government in January, 2015 informed the Supreme Court that it had accepted Election Commission’s recommendation to allow the NRI people to vote through e-ballot system. The EC discarded other possibilities – postal ballot and internet voting – terming them fraught with the risk of manipulation.

After the Centre accepted the EC recommendations on NRI voting, a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri gave the Centre 8 weeks to effect necessary amendments in the law to implement the EC suggestion.

NCP had proposed postal ballot for NRIs while BJP, BSP and CPI had opined that postal ballot may not be a viable option for NRIs. Congress, however was not in favour of e-ballot for NRIs.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner Shamsheer V P, pushed another plea – voting rights for migrant laborers who constituted nearly 30% of the population and facilities to enable armed forces personnel posted in remote and forward areas to cast their votes. The bench had sought the Centre’s response on the application.

The EC examined several suggestions to enable NRIs to cast their vote and rejected the idea of allowing them to cast their votes at diplomatic missions in foreign. “The committee is also of the view that internet voting is also not a feasible option until appropriate technology/information technology applications and all other vulnerabilities are addressed,” said the EC.

Postal ballot was also ruled out. A high-level EC committee said, “E-postal ballot, where blank postal ballot paper is transferred electronically to NRI and returned by post by NRI can be considered to be employed after proofing, validation of the process and implementation in one or two constituencies in elections to the legislative assemblies and then scale up to more assembly elections and finally parliamentary elections if found feasible, practicable and meeting the objectives of free and fair election.

Describing the e-ballot procedure, the EC committee said the NRI wishing to vote through this procedure would have to send an application either electronically or physically to the returning officer six months before the expiry of the term.

“The RO may then verify the particulars of the person and at the time of election, on satisfaction, send the postal ballot electronically after the same is finalized on the last date of withdrawal of candidature, which the NRI elector can access through a password that would be allotted to him. The elector downloads the postal ballot paper and then casts vote and posts is back to the RO after getting the declaration attested,” it said.

The inclusion of the NRIs into the Indian voting system will go on to benefit Narendra Modi and his Government. Modi has deep affinity with the Indian Diaspora and is magical with them. In the forthcoming elections, the NRI vote share could all fall with Modi.

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