‘We miss be­ing part of demo­cratic process’

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The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES SPORT - Dwai­payan.Ghosh @times­group.com VOT­ING CEN­TRES POSTAL VOT­ING PROXY VOT­ING ON­LINE/MO­BILE VOT­ING

PEO­PLE ACROSS AGE GROUPS THINK THE BEST SO­LU­TION IS TO

CRE­ATE VOT­ING CEN­TRES

WHERE PEO­PLE COULD GO AND VOTE FOR ANY CON­STITUENCY THEY ARE REG­IS­TERED IN

They lived in Delhi for 22 years be­fore mov­ing to Kolkata in 2010, but Amiya Ku­mar Pal and wife Kalyani keep vis­it­ing the na­tional cap­i­tal off and on for busi­ness. Per­sonal con­straints and job re­quire­ments mean the cou­ple have not been able to regis­ter their names un­der the Ja­davpur as­sem­bly and Lok Sabha con­stituency in West Ben­gal, even though their son and daugh­ter are en­rolled as vot­ers in Kolkata.

“We miss vot­ing in Kolkata. I have al­ways been at­tracted by the level of po­lit­i­cal con­scious­ness in this city. I had booked flight tick­ets to travel to Delhi, where we are cur­rently reg­is­tered as elec­tors, so that I could vote in the 2015 Delhi as­sem­bly elec­tions.

“But I missed vot­ing in two game-chang­ing elec­tions — the one in 2011, which saw Tri­namool Congress come to power for the first time in Ben­gal, and the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions, when some press­ing fam­ily mat­ters stopped me from trav­el­ling to Delhi,” says Amiya, ru­ing the loss of his votes be­cause he is not reg­is­tered in Ben­gal.

“Ideally, I would like to cast my vote in the 2019 par­lia­men­tary polls. I have booked tick­ets for Delhi in April on some of­fi­cial work. But a fam­ily mem­ber is to be hos­pi­talised around the same time for an op­er­a­tion. So, I might miss vot­ing again,” said Amiya.

Kalyani says she had voted Kolkata ear­lier in her De­shapriya Park lo­cal­ity in Kolkata be­fore mov­ing to Delhi. “The booth-level party work­ers do not knock on our doors any­more as they know our votes are not here. I miss be­ing part of the demo­cratic process. I wish we had a sys­tem where I could have voted from Delhi for my con­stituency in Ben­gal,” she told TOI.

The cou­ple have de­cided that if they do not in­deed get to vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, they will en­sure they get their vote trans­ferred to Kolkata be­fore 2021 state polls. 28.2% OF THOSE ABOVE 70 YEARS OF AGE THINK PROXY VOT­ING IS THE BEST WAY TO EN­SURE THEIR RIGHT

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