The Non-resident Indians (NRIs) can now cast votes in their home constituencies. Centre has notified rules in this regard. The rules make it clear that the NRIs would have to register as voters and be physically present with their passport on the polling day to exercise their franchise.

There is, however, no provision for postal balloting. The notification prepared in consultation with the Election Commission clarifies that NRI voters now can submit the application directly to the electoral registration officer of the constituency within which the place of residence is mentioned in the passport. 

AIR correspondent reports, the application can either be submitted directly or sent by post.

AIR Correspondent reports, this meets the longstanding demands of the NRIs and fulfills the promise made by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at last year's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in New Delhi. 

According to the Representation of the People Act, once a person is registered as a voter, he automatically gets a right to contest polls also. Now, if any NRI has a political ambition to be elected as peoples's representative, he or she can fulfill that aspiration also. 

As per the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, so far a person who has gone out of the country for business or employment should be treated as having moved out of that place. 

Mere ownership or possession of a building or other immovable property did not bestow on the owner, the residential qualification.

The Amendment Act says, there are a large number of citizens of India residing outside India due to various reasons. They have been persistently demanding for conferring them voting rights.

Though the issue had been receiving the attention of the Government for quite some time, the demand could not be acceded to owing to certain practical difficulties in enrolling them in the electoral rolls of the concerned constituency.

The Act says the right to vote as demanded by the citizens of India living abroad is their legitimate right. Conferring such right will enable them to participate in the democratic process of elections in their motherland and will also boost their involvement in the nation building. 

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