Ahead of elections in West Bengal, a bill to grant voting rights to people who became citizens of India after the exchange of enclaves with Bangladesh was passed in the Lok Sabha Thursday. Although the Opposition questioned the delay on the part of the government to bring in the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the House passed it unanimously with a voice vote.
“EC is already working on it. The central government will provide all assistance to the state so that the people who have come from Bangladesh can be given the basic rights in the upcoming elections in West Bengal,” Law Minister Sadanand Gowda said.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it was imperative on the part of the government to ensure voting rights to the people, but added basic amenities like food and shelter also should be provided to them. BJP’s S S Ahluwalia was of the view that job opportunities also should be given to those living in Indian enclaves. RSP MP N K Premachandran questioned the reasons for delaying the Bill when the bill was passed in July last year. The CPM’s Mohammad Salim too questioned the delay on part of the Centre and state government.