South Asian Insider
NRI Who Wanted to Vote Posted Ticket to India Online, Pranksters Cancelled it
(Agencies)- The right to vote is one of the most prized privileges for citizens in a democracy. And with elections currently underway in the world's largest democracy, citizens of India are as eager and excited as ever to exercise this right - an opportunity that usually comes only once in five years.
This is a tough time for Indian expats and NRIs residing in foreign countries as according to the law, NRIs can only vote if they are physically present at the polling booth on the day of voting. However, a young man from Mangalore, living in Muscat, Oman, made a serious effort to cast his vote. He bought a plane ticket to India expressly so that he could come and cast his vote. Everything was set.However, Joystan Lobo, who belongs to Puttur in Karnataka, made one crucial mistake. He posted the ticket on social media.Lobo, who had booked the ticket to India in March itself, posted a video of himself with the ticket, encouraging others from his hometown of Puttur to come and cast their votes in a similar fashion. However, within hours of the ticket's information being posted online, some miscreants cancelled the booking without the buyer's knowledge.According to reports in DaijiWorld, the unidentified miscreants must have found the ticket's information including PNR details on a social media site, then gone to the online bookings portal. Since they had the flyer's details from his ticket, it must not have been very hard for the pranksters to cancel the ticket.
The ticket was cancelled on March 30 and Lobo only found out about the cancellation on April 1. Not to be deterred, however, the diligent elector instantly booked a second ticket to India and flew out of Oman on April 4, comfortably in time for the first phase of polling that began on April 11.Though Lobo lost over Rs 9,000 to compensate for the cancellation, he managed to come and cast his vote, nonetheless.This year's crucial elections will see 900 million voters cast their vote.
Though the Election Commission of India does not permit postal ballots or proxy voting (unless in case of those under preventive detention, those on election duty and government/armed forces officials), many NRI communities in countries like the US have shown an interest in this election, even picking sides and campaigning for their favorite candidates with flash mobs and other such activities.
The EC in February also issued a notice, warning people against fake news regarding NRI voting.
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