Sunday, April 26, 2009

The case of the disenfranchised

During the past few days, our blog has discussed the issue of lack of voting rights for Indians temporarily residing abroad during the elections. Responses to the debate suggested that if those Indian voters who are non-officials residing abroad during the elections need to be provided facilities for voting, similar facilities be provided for migrants within India who would like to vote in those constituencies where they are originally registered. This report in The Hindu today (report by Vidya Venkat and photo by K.Pichumani)starkly brings out the plight of the migrant voters within the country, who stand disenfranchised precisely because they migrated in search of livelihood. The discussion that we had pointed out to the complexities involved in providing such facilities to a migrant voter to exercise his or her franchise. But are these complexities insurmountable for the Election Commission?

Addendum: Just to add how farcical our promise of universal free adult franchise is: The Prime Minister, who is ordinarily a resident and a voter in Assam, leaves New Delhi, where he works, to exercise his franchise in Guwahati; but similar luxury is denied to these migrant workers in Chennai. Clearly, some of the remedies suggested by Vidya's respondents are worth trying.
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