With the government framing rules for Indian passport holders to take part in elections, hundreds of thousands of Indians living abroad are all set to vote in the Assembly polls in five states due in May.
The nonresident Indians can apply for enrollment as a voter by post to the respective electoral authorities in their constituencies and cast their votes there if they are physically present. There won’t be no facility for absentee voting for the time being.
Besides Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry are also going to polls in May. A proposal for allowing online registration is also under the consideration of the Election Commission of India.
Under the revised rules, NRIs holding Indian passports, who have not acquired or applied for citizenship of another country, and who satisfy the electoral officer of the area/locality cited as address in his passport, will be allowed to vote in elections in India. A form that NRIs can fill and send to the electoral officer along with the necessary documents to be registered for voting was also issued.
The Chief Electoral Officers of the states going to polls were asked to complete publication of the electoral rolls by month-end after the summary revision with January 1, 2011 as the cut-off date to include persons aged 18 and above as voters.
The term of Tamil Nadu Assembly ends on on May 16, the Kerala Assembly on May 23, the Assam and Pondicherry Assemblies on May 28 and West Bengal on June 11 and the elections will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, 140 in Kerala, 294 in West Bengal, 126 in Assam and 30 in Pondicherry.