Abu Dhabi: The Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE are jubilant about the immediate prospect of voting in Indian elections after India initiated the first step of legislation for this purpose on Thursday.
The Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, on Thursday passed a bill that proposes to amend the existing electoral law, which will allow NRIs to appoint proxies to cast their votes in the elections to parliament and state assemblies.
Replying to the debate on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a “momentous event” and a big opportunity was being given to NRIs, according to an IANS report from New Delhi.
He said the constitution makers had given the right to vote to all Indians and, therefore, the NRIs also had the right. “Let us not deride the contribution of NRIs. They have made a place for themselves by their hard work. Their commitment to India is truly remarkable,” Prasad said.
Responding to the apprehension of some members that the proxy provision can be misused, he said rules will be made in such a way that if law is flouted, it will lead to the cancellation of the vote.
About the suggestion for introducing e-voting, Prasad said there are a lot of difficulties in it and more advancement in technology will be needed to make a secure architecture, said the IANS report.
2019 parliament elections
The bill has to be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, and approved by the President of India. Currently, NRIs can vote if they are present in their constituencies on the day of voting.
A prominent Abu Dhabi-based Indian businessman, who fought a successful legal battle for this cause in the Indian Supreme Court, told Gulf News he hoped that NRIs could vote in the 2019 parliament elections.