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My voting rights......

A little known fact for non-resident Indians (who are still Indian citizens) is that they can't vote in Indian elections if they had stayed out of India more than 181 days in a year. Quite unfair because they have not relinquished their Indian citizenship but have been away from India for studies (in my case) or business or work (project). So, I have been denied my right to vote in the last three years!!

However, many countries allow citizens to cast their votes through postal ballot or through internet or keep voting booth in their respective embassies. A colleague of mine from Thailand had the option to vote in Thailand national elections held last month.

However, in the first week of May, I had the satisfaction of voting in local body elections in United Kingdom. Being a commonwealth citizen, I have the right to vote in UK elections. I rue the fact that I could not vote in general elections held last year.

Unlike in India, there was no local holiday nor there was huge crowd in the centre I went to vote. The polling station was kept open till 9 PM. I voted at around 6.30 PM. One of the surprise as I went to vote is the fact that I could vote for three candidates in a single ballot. Yes, I can mark 'X' three times in a single ballot, not three ballot papers. I asked the polling officer for reasons. He said there are three vacancies in the local body I am voting, so I could vote for three candidates. I could have voted only for one or two candidates.

So, I have to re-work my voting strategy!! Of the three major parties (Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats), I did not like one party but I like the other two in the ratio of 2:1!!. Therefore, I voted in the ratio of 2:1.

I think our election commission should look at the issue of voting rights for people like me. I could not think of any valid reason to deny my voting rights. I dont wish to give up Indian citizenship or take up dual citizenship. Given this, I think people like me should be given a right to vote.

Comments

Ramnath said…
A little known fact for non-resident Indians (who are still Indian citizens) is that they can't vote in Indian elections if they had stayed out of India more than 181 days in a year.

Prime minister Singh in the recent pravasi bharatiya divas promised that will change soon.
John Samuel said…
hey king
thanks for that info. i remember you writing a report about the same issue just before 2004 elections.

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