Indian Diaspora ‘Frustrated’ at Restricted Voting Rights in Indian Elections: SurveyNRI Top Stories

April 10, 2019 10:16
Indian Diaspora ‘Frustrated’ at Restricted Voting Rights in Indian Elections: Survey

(Image source from: Rediffmail)

Non-Resident Indians were recently turned down from voting online or proxy voting at Lok Sabha elections starting April 11. A survey found for that reason, NRIs across the United Kingdom and Europe are feeling “frustrated” at only being allowed to vote in the Indian elections by traveling back their constituency to cast their vote.

The survey, conducted by UK-based Indian diaspora think tank Bridge India, found that the large number of NRIs are overwhelmingly in favor of being able to vote through their local consulates or embassies.

“Less than 6 percent were happy with the status quo, while 61 percent said they should be allowed to instead vote at their local consulate or embassy and 17 percent said they should be allowed to appoint a proxy to cast their vote for them,” Bridge India said in a statement on Monday.

"More than 60 percent also strongly agreed with the statement that Indians should be allowed dual citizenship, which is currently not allowed,” it noted.

The survey received over 350 responses over the last month, with one-third of the respondents identifying as NRIs and two-thirds as Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). From among the respondents, 20 percent identified themselves as left of center on the political spectrum, 22 percent as centrist and 29 percent as for the right of center.

Bridge India will release the complete results of its wider Indian diaspora survey later in the year.

The survey's interim results coincided with the non-profit think tank's “Countdown to the Indian General Elections: What should we expect?” event at the Henry Jackson Society in London on Monday.

The panelists at the event, which included strategists and authors, analyzed the importance of the 2019 Indian General Election and their likely impact on India-UK relations.

“If it is a BJP-led government, India-UK relations would move forward along the lines of the November 2015 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when a joint statement on closer political and security cooperation was struck… in the case of a Congress-led government, it would be a case of starting from ground zero,” said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

“Some of the big successes of the bilateral relationship, such as Masala Bonds, as the UK seeks out global partners in a post-Brexit context will benefit from continuity in government [in India],” added Pratik Dattani, Managing Director, EPG Economic and Strategy Consulting.

-Sangam Sowmya


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