On 8th January 2009, at the annual NRI extravaganza (which is partly tax-payer funded) the Prime Minister of India said:
"I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India......I have some problems with this.
......We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections”.
- If a person does not live in India, how can that person participate in a process that decides who will govern me here in India? It seems unfair to me.
- An exercise of one’s franchise comes with consequences.
* If a person is not living in the country, he/she does not have to bear the consequences of his/her vote.
* If a person does not bear the consequences of his/her vote – why should they be given the privilege of a vote?
Note: Owning property in India does not bestow extra rights on a person under the representation of people’s act. In other words, a bank account or house does not entitle anybody in India to a vote.
- Voting is not an exercise in jingoism. Exercising one’s franchise is serious business. It’s about electing a representative who is responsible for delivering on governance. If somebody needs to find an armband that proves their ethnicity, they need to look elsewhere and not on a voter’s registration list.
- If you eat the cake – you won’t have it any more.
An Indian has every right to settle in any country that will have him as a resident. One does not and should not lose his/her citizenship for that. They are also welcome to give up their citizenship.
I have no issues even if someone was educated on government subsidies in premier institutions such as IIT or AIIMS and then took the first plane abroad. Good for them. They have every democratic right to pursue a path that they chose for themselves. We have enough and more people to make up for the folks who leave for greener pastures. Family and friends will miss NRIs. Not the country. Nobody is that indispensable.
Indian democracy affects everyday life. Participation in Indian democracy is not about pressing a button once every five years.
- There is an entire ministry that is dedicated to the affairs of NRIs and Persons of Indian origin. This is, in my opinion, adequate representation. NRIs should do whatever is possible either individually or collectively to increase the scope, power, authority and efficiency of the Ministry of NRI affairs.
Don't ask for a seat in parliament. If you want voting right, you will have to show up at the booth like the rest of us.
Why should an NRI be any different to a migrant worker within India? An NRI needs to treat an election-day like an other migrant worker in India
- They need to comply with all the provisions of the Representation of People’s act. (citizenship, qualification to vote, age etc)
- They need to reach the constituency in which their names figures on the voting list. Or they need to pre-register their name on the Voter’s list with all required documentation.
- On voting day - they need to walk into the appropriate polling booth and show the appropriate Identity card (none of which are green) and vote for a candidate of their choice.