Ballot voting to NRIs: Yechury asks ECI to hold all-party meet

Ballot voting to NRIs: Yechury asks ECI to hold all-party meet

New Delhi: Expressing his displeasure over the Election Commission's move to allow NRI's to vote in the upcoming assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Pondicherry through postal ballot, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday slammed the ECI for not consulting political parties prior to finalising issues of such major import.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, the CPI(M) leader said, "Our sense of shock flows from the blatant departure from the conventional modus operandi adopted by the Election Commission of consultations with political parties before finalising issues of such major import."

Raising some serious concerns in the present proposal, Yechury has asked the ECI to immediately convene an all-party meeting for deliberating the complex issues involved in the effective extension of voting rights to NRIs at the earliest.

"It was in 2014 that the EC had first taken up the proposal to permit NRI voters to cast their votes. The Commission had at that point of time held an all-party consultation to discuss the possible methods to actualise a fool-proof mechanism to ensure a 'free and fair' poll so far as the NRI voters are concerned," Yechury said.

"The Supreme Court also upheld the rights of the NRIs who are Indian passport holders to be able to participate in the democratic electoral process," he said.

However, he said that the CPI(M) is in favour of extending a more effective voting right to overseas NRIs for participating in the election process of the country.

"The CPI(M) had suggested the setting up of polling booths at our Embassy/Missions and other facilities in different foreign countries to permit Indian citizens to cast their votes in those countries where they are currently residing as this practice is followed by many democracies in the world and conforms to the practise of physical verification of the voters," he said.

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