‘We Are Indian Citizens, No Matter Where We Live’: NRIs Fly Down to India Ahead of ElectionsMarch 21, 2019 16:36
(Image source from: Times Now)
It seems like election ardor of India has spread across the world as even Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) flying down to their native places in India to exercise their franchise in Lok Sabha elections happening next month.
Ajith Kubatoor, who moved to Australia three years back, said he has a track record of not missing a single election be it state or national since he turned 18. “I flew down for the assembly elections in Karnataka last year. The perception that NRIs do not care about their country’s development has changed of late. I even informed my office in advance that I would need to take leave some time in April or May to vote in India,” said Kubatoor.
Another Indian nation from Arizona, keen to make it to India in time to vote, Jayanth Kumar and his wife booked tickets even before the election dates were announced. “We assumed it would be held in May, like last time, but as soon as the EC announced the date, we changed our tickets. We moved abroad 12 years back but lived in Bengaluru’s north constituency earlier. I make it a point to vote during the LS elections - we are Indian citizens, no matter where we live,” Jayanth said, adding, “Getting leave from work was not easy, so I will be working from home when in India.”
“Each and every vote counts, so we have to be there, no matter where we are settled. Even if government schemes and policies no longer directly impact us, our families and friends back home are affected, which is why it is important for us to vote,” said Pallavi Mysore revealing that election fever has hit Indian communities in the U.S., with everyone talking about it on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
Pallavi who lived in Bengaluru before moving to the United States 10 years back, was unable to travel during the last Lok Sabha elections, as she had just delivered a baby. But she is not missing it this time.
“While my husband could not get a leave from work, I will be flying to Bengaluru to vote. Indian parents in the U.S., whose children are young and do not have exams in April, are making it a point to travel and vote this time,” she added. Talking, criticizing and complaining about the government on social media is not enough, said Venkatanath Doreswamy and Nagaraj Koranthota. “We discuss issues on a daily basis on social media, but that does not change anything. Elections are the one opportunity we get to make a difference.”
“I will be working from home for two weeks and taking another two weeks off when I come to vote in Bengaluru. My wife and I booked open flight tickets in advance, we only entered our travel dates after the EC announcement,” said Doreswamy, who lives in Australia.
Koranthota, who is settled in the U.S., has been coordinating with his colleagues in Bengaluru to get their voter ID issues sorted out. “Several of my colleagues in Bengaluru did not vote in the state elections last time, as they had issues with changing their address and constituencies. I helped them with the process, while also conducting online campaigns,” he added.
By Sowmya Sangam