(Image source from: DNA India)
Despite potent dissemination regarding the NRI voting is put into effect, the Telangana State Election Commission is receiving a lukewarm response from natives of Telangana putting down roots in foreign parts.
The Telangana election office received just 585 applications from non-resident Indians hailing from Telangana. The received applications additionally required to be scrutinized prior to deciding on how many of them are entitled to be given voter ID cards and the final eligible number would be proclaimed on March 25.
In the voters' list published by the Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Rajat Kumar on February 22, the total number of voters stood at 2.95 crores in Telangana, out of which the Overseas/ NRI voters are at a very low of 1,122.
Of the total 1.31 crore population of NRIs across the world, a good number of them belong to both Telugu states. However, the very less NRI voters' number is an indication of how reluctant is the Indian diaspora to cast their franchise in elections.
According to Prakash Kapila, a Telugu NRI from New Jersey, the timing of 2019 elections (in mid-April) proved to be a big dampener. "Majority of NRI families from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia don't prefer to come in hot summer here because it will be quite difficult for families to adjust to the high temperatures. The distance is so long from India that we have to travel with the whole family and the travel expenses itself cost Rs 3 to Rs 4 lakh (for to and fro tickets from the U.S.)," he said.
Prakash said: “If NRIs are allowed to vote in Indian embassies in various countries instead of physically present condition, a big change could be seen. Almost all eligible NRI voters would prefer to cast their vote in elections without fail, he stressed.”
Prakash added that some of his friends went all the way from the U.S. to Telangana in last winter as the assembly elections were held on December 7, which was very convenient for families to get acclimatized to the weather at that time.
As of now, overseas Indians have to register as voters, come to India, go to their constituency with the original passport issued to them when they had gone abroad and cast their vote.
By Sowmya Sangam