NRIs should vote in panchayat, municipal polls: Congress

Panaji, June 15 (IANS) NRIs can participate in democracy in the true sense only after they are allowed to vote in grassroots elections to representative bodies like panchayat and municipalities, Congress Goa unit president Luizinho Faleiro said on Monday.

Faleiro’s statement came at a time the union law ministry is examining a legal proposal submitted to it by the Election Commission to allow Non-Resident Indians to vote in the state and general elections by proxy voting and using e-ballot facilities.

“Only by participation in grassroots elections like the ones to panchayat bodies and municipalities can NRIs be truly assimilated in the electoral process of our country,” Faleiro told a press conference here.

Faleiro, a member of the Congress Working Committee, his party’s highest decision-making body, also said the party was in the process of filing a public interest litigation to enable NRI Goans to vote in local elections.

He said there were around 2.5 lakh NRI Goans residing in the Gulf region and another approximately 2.5 lakh NRIs from the state who were settled across the globe, mostly in Canada, Portugal, England, France and some African countries.

Addition of these NRI votes to the existing 10 lakh-odd existing vote base in Goa would change the manner in which politics, governance and elections are conducted, he said.

“The NRIs in many ways are more aware of what’s happening in the state than we are and are more eager for things to change for the better,” Faleiro said.

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