Uttar Pradesh might be the most populous state in India and have a sizeable number of non-resident Indians (NRIs) spread across the world, but when the state goes to the polls in a few weeks, only one NRI will be eligible to vote.
The rest are not enrolled in the register maintained by the Election Commission, Times of India has reported citing officials.
98.64% NRI voters from Kerala
Of the total 11,846 registered overseas electors, 11,448 (96.64%) are registered in Kerala, 138 in Punjab, 112 in Tamil Nadu, 56 in Puducherry, 13 in Delhi and so on.
Even Daman and Diu have nine registered NRI voters.
Growth in UP’s NRI population
UP’s NRI population has grown exponentially over the past few years. According to Union ministry of external affairs figures, while 1.4 lakh citizens of UP got emigration clearance in 2010, the number had shot up to 2.29 lakh in 2014.
However, in the past four years, only one NRI, from Meerut, was enrolled as an overseas voter.
“Getting NRIs to enrol as overseas voters has been a challenge for the Election Commission (EC). We are in touch with the MEA and Indian embassies to create awareness among the sizeable NRI population,” said N M Batoria, NRI electorate incharge of the EC.
“NRIs can get enrolled online, and local authorities will verify their credentials after meeting their relatives and spouses in their home districts,” said an official with the UP election commission.
The official admitted that despite special programmes, we haven’t achieved concrete and satisfactory results.
“We are still conducting meetings with Indian representatives abroad to increase the enrollment of NRIs. The major chunk of the diaspora is settled in the Middle East and the Gulf,” he said.
“Some migrant workers are not even allowed to keep their passports with them. It becomes difficult to contact such scattered groups. Officials posted at our embassies and high commissions have to show more enthusiasm in getting our diaspora to enroll. The EC can only assist them in this,” Batoria said.
Every citizen of India whose name is not included in the electoral roll, and who has not acquired citizenship of any other country and who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his employment, education or otherwise outside India (whether temporarily or not) is entitled to have his name registered in the electoral roll in the Constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.
Residents or NRIs can visit National Voters Service Portal (www.nsvp.in) to check if their names are included in state-level electoral roll. If the name is not included or details need correction, electors can do it through the same website.
- NRIs urged to register for voting through NSVP website
- EC suggest NRI voting via proxies and e-ballots
- Cabinet approves draft bill to facilitate NRI e-voting
Published on 8 January 2017