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Indian govt decision to allow NRIs to vote historic: Expats

Posted on January 11, 2012
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Indian govt decision

DUBAI: Indian community leaders in the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) have hailed their government’s decision to allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote as “historic”, expressing hope that the move would strengthen democracy and allow the diaspora to voice its issues more effectively.

They, however, said that the decision needed more publicity and that the government should ensure that people were able to vote from their countries of residence, rather than having to travel back to India to cast their ballot.

“It is a very significant decision and every Indian must vote. Of the 1.3 billion population that India has, more than 25 million live in different countries across the world, which highlights the importance of the diaspora. I feel it is a very good decision to give them a right to participate in the election process,” the Gulf News quoted K V Shamsudeen, chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, as saying.

“It is a historic moment, a great decision. We can now voice our issues much strongly and everyone should participate. It is an opportunity to strengthen our democracy,” he added.

Nissar Thalangara, general secretary of the Indian Association Sharjah, said that the move would benefit the Indian community “immensely”.

“The NRI community will benefit immensely from getting voting rights as they would feel they are a part of the political system and are closer to their country,” he insisted, while Tasleem Karmali, a Dubai-based special educationist, said: “I remember when I lived in India and had such strong enthusiasm to vote, I would even encourage other people to go and cast their votes and proudly flaunt the ink mark after the voting. The feeling that I can be a part of that process makes me feel that I am closely connected to my homeland.”

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