Indian Express

Many from Northeast queue up to get voters’ ID, lose ‘outsider’ tag

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NORTH-EAST-MEDIUM At the special registration camp on Wednesday.( PRAVEEN KHANNA)

Kisimyile left her home in Nagaland to come live in the capital seven years ago. As she fills out her forms at the special voter registration camp for people from Northeast at Chanakyapuri on Wednesday, she has her fingers crossed. She hopes that she will finally be given the chance to vote in Delhi on April 10 and lose the “outsider” tag.

“Last time, my application was rejected as I did not have an address proof. I hope I am more successful this time,’’ Kisimyile said.
Manga Vaiphei from Manipur has been living in Delhi for 10 years now. He said he wanted to vote, “because when you vote you matter. You become an important part of the system’’.

A paper board kept on one of the tables reads, “Special Voter Registration Camp for people from Northeast. We pledge to vote for better democracy.’’

The words are barely discernible under the signatures of those who had turned up to register.

According to Delhi Chief Electoral Officer’s office, around 550 forms were received at the camp, a first-of-its-kind initiative to reach out to those from the Northeast residing in Delhi.

Chirsty, who presently works in Italy, said she turned up to get herself registered along with her sister because it would provide her with an ID proof which would go a long way in making her life easier in Delhi.

“I am from Manipur and have been living in Delhi for 10 years before I got a job in Italy. It becomes impossible to rent a house in Delhi. Once we are registered as voters here, we hope that it will change,’’ she said.

Most of the people who turned up for registration had found out about this camp through Facebook, friends or student unions.
According to booth level officers at the camp, in case a person does not have an address proof, an official will be send to the applicant’s residence to collect papers.

“We have collected applications from everyone who turned up and will visit the addresses personally to collect documents which they didn’t have with them,’’ a official said.

As a first time voter, 18-year-old Lamkhosei Kipeen is excited. “I live in Vasant Kunj and am studying in Deshbandhu College. I came here in search of a better education, but things can get tough sometimes,’’ he said.Thirty-nine-year-old Bendangienla too will be a first-time voter. “I was never motivated enough to vote earlier. But I now want to play a more active role instead of just complaining about how things don’t change. I have been living in Delhi since 2011, but am yet to really feel a part of the city,’’ she said.

“This camp was organised to ensure inclusion of people from the Northeast in the electoral process. They usually face difficulty in filling up forms and providing residential proof. We are working on resolving these issues through such camps,’’ CEO Vijay Dev said.

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