Skip to main content

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.


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.

Popular posts from this blog

'koil madu' and myself........

'Koil madu' is a Tamil term used to describe the cows that are tied to the temple. It is there forever. In literal usage, the term can be used on people who spend loads of time at religious place. I might fit that description well. Haven't missed many Sunday church services. If I have to put a number, I would have attended 39 out of 40 years of Sunday services.

Last Sunday, the preacher at my Delhi church was referring to Ecclesiastes 11: 1 and 2. In the last few years, I have started to like the Message translation of The Bible. This version uses modern day language, yet it captures the true meaning of the root language. So I referred to the Message version when the preacher was mentioning these verses.

These verses I haven't heard before and it was sort of like an eye opener on what the Bible says on charity. I have been a 'koil madu' but haven't found this verse for this long. It was profound. Check out the verses:

"Be generous: Invest in acts of ch…

How not to spend taxpayers money

If you're wondering how best your tax money is spent, then you should look at how Telangana's Rythu Bandhu Scheme works. The state government decided that it will give Rs4,000 per acre as investment incentive to all farm owners. The biggest benefit would be farm mechanization by small landowners who otherwise may not have opted for machanisation. So far so good. 

Here is the interesting thing: the incentive per acre is given to all farmers irrespective of how much land is owned, or whether he is actually tilling the land. 

So a farmer with 200 acres of land, will pocket Rs 8 lakh of public money (money that you and me pay as tax), and in all probability, he is filthy rich and is not even tilling the land. 

Anyone with any semblance of knowledge of rural economy will say there are a vast number of tenant farmers (people who don't own the land, but they till and share a portion of the product with the landlord). Telengana government in its infinite wisdom decided not to include…

Happiness, street vendors, and negotiations......

Few days back I was watching a documentary series, "India's Frontier Trains". The three-part series was on trains connecting India with its neighbours - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Yes, there is a train connection between India and Nepal, and that train is the only functioning train for the whole of Nepal.

In the episode on the train between India and Bangladesh, the program documented a life of a chocolate seller inside the train. He boards the train in the Bangladesh side of the route. A sole bread winner for a family of four, he earns by selling chocolates in the train.

He faces a perennial problem: because of hot weather conditions, his chocolates melt. In those hot days, his earnings are meager. A basic cooling device like this costs seventeen pounds and he couldn't afford that.

What moved me was the insensitive nature of some passengers in haggling with this struggling chocolate seller. They would force down the price by 10 pence or more (which is more tha…