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NRIs will get VOTING RIGHTS soon 

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas next month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today voiced confidence about finding a solution to voting by NRIs without coming to India.

The Election Commission was considering the issue, she said.

“The Election Commission could not take a decision so far. There are two-three suggestions. I think a solution will be found out soon to address the difficulty of coming here and vote,” Swaraj said responding to a question on the issue at a press conference here.

Elaborating on the suggestions, Swaraj said there was a view that Electronic Voting Machines can be kept in embassies while another view was that right of proxy voting can be given to NRIs so that they can authorise people to vote on their behalf.

The 13th edition of three-day Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be held from January 7 in Gandhinagar in Gujarat. It has been a long-standing demand of NRIs to facilitate voting in their countries of residence.

In July, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath had said that the Election Commission favours proxy voting and e-ballot for NRIs but not voting in Indian embassies abroad.

He had said that any move to allow NRIs use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballot facility will require changes in the law.

As per provisions of the Representation of People Act, a person who is a citizen of India and who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and is  otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter and who is absent from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to employment, education or otherwise, is eligible to be registered as a voter.

The provision says he will able to vote in the place which is mentioned in his passport as place of residence in India.

New Delhi: The Union Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, Sushma Swaraj addresses a press conference regarding the forthcoming 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)-2015 [slated to be held from 7-9 January 2015 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat], in New Delhi on Dec 22, 2014. Also seen the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben Patel, the Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation (I/C), External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, General (Retd.) V.K. Singh and the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge), Sarbananda Sonowal. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

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