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Over 1 crore NRIs could soon get right to vote

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

To offer NRIs the right to exercise their franchise by e-postal ballots or through proxy voting, the government on Tuesday called for an all-party meeting to discuss the proposal.

Law Minister, DV Sadananda Gowda, acknowledged the demand of Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha that their views should be taken into consideration while enacting legislation to award voting rights to NRIs and domestic migrant labours.

Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, moved a motion in the house on this issue. Gowda, in response to the motion, said that the government was working on the Election Commission report regarding voting rights of over one crore NRIs and not as directed by the Supreme Court.

The debate heated up as the Opposition members blamed the government that it is acting against the Supreme Court’s directions. Azad said that the Opposition is not against the voting rights for NRIs, but it is the way the government has moved the proposal without even discussing it with the political parties.

“Today government has said goodbye to all consultation process. Parliament is being made aware of developments from newspaper reports. It has become the habit of the government to bypass the Parliament and the standing committees. When we object, we are being criticised,” said Azad.

Gowda stated that the report advocated the options of the e-postal ballot system and proxy voting. “E-postal and postal ballot voting methodologies are being worked out for the voting rights of the NRIs,” he said.

On the other hand, the minister agreed for an all party meeting as insisted by DMK, BJD, CPI, AIADMK, SP and JD-U. Gowda said, “I (will) request Election Commision to hold all party meeting to get their feedback.”

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