In an electoral roll of 63 lakh so far, there has been only one Non Resident Indian (NRI) voter registration. Amardeep Banerjee (25) of Chinchwad, who is based overseas, has been the only NRI to register himself as a voter in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Election officials attributed this to lack of awareness among NRI voters. Voter registration concluded on March 15.
District electoral officer Apurva Wankhede (DEO) said, “We have received only one NRI registration so far. The registration is closed and the number will not increase.”
NRI individuals who have not taken citizenship of any other country are eligible to vote according to the provisions of the Representation of People Act (Amendment) 2010. Thus, this is thus the first time when the registration of NRI voters was carried out.
The updated electoral roll, with an additional 2.14 lakh voters, is likely to be published within days —but that is unlikely to increase the number of NRI registrations. However, there are four Lok Sabha constituencies in the district and the number may go up for the assembly polls in October.
Election officials said Banerjee is a resident of PremLok Park area of Chinchwad. However, his contact details could not be obtained.
“We have approved this application. The document was sent by post with all the necessary attested documents,” said the official who registered Banerjee.
“There was one registration last year as well. But electoral rolls are renewed every year and the response so far has been limited,” Wankhede said.
According to RPA, after having registered, the NRI voters have to visit their polling booth to exercise their voting right.
“So registration itself does not mean anything unless voting right is exercised. There needs to be more awareness amongst voters to come forward and register as NRI voters. There is very less likelihood that people will spend their own money to come and cast their vote and will do so only if they happen to be in India during polls,” an election official said.