THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has every reason to cheer over the Centre's decision to allow proxy voting for pravasis not only because of their size but for their enthusiasm to participate in the process. The Centre opted this mode considering a recommendation of a high-level committee constituted by the Election Commission in 2014. The panel found proxy voting the most viable, secure and cost-effective compared to voting at diplomatic missions or online, postal and e-postal voting.
It required only an amendment in the Representation of People Act, and hence it could be implemented swiftly. Former chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi had earlier said it could be implemented in three months time after the Centre took a policy decision. “I hope the government will introduce a Bill in Parliament soon. The long cherished dream can be realised in just three months,” Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, a Dubai-based entrepreneur who moved the SC, told reporters in Kochi.
“A majority of expats are from Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat. It will make an enormous impact on elections here.” He moved the apex court after he missed his voting rights 15 years ago, and had since been pursuing the case strongly along with another petitioner. He said politicians were indifferent towards the issued the NRIs faced as they were disenfranchised. In 2011, they were allowed to enrol as an overseas elector and cast their vote if present in the constituency during the elections. In 2014, in the first national elections, since the enrollment was open, 96.64% of NRI votes on the list were from Kerala.
They can now enrol online at nvsp.in which offers options for filling up the form in three languages - English, Hindi and Malayalam. But the turnout used to be low as they need to be physically present here for voting. The Sharjah-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust chairman K. V. Shamsudheen suggests e-voting linking to Aadhaar on a highly secure network to avoid fraud. Malayali IAS officer T. K. Manoj Kumar was also a member of the Election Commission-appointed committee that recommended proxy voting....