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Allow Us E-voting For Lok Sabha Polls, Seafarers in Letter to Govt

"Nowadays, many ships are equipped with internet facility on board, therefore, e-voting may be an option," MASSA CEO Captain Shiv Halbe wrote, adding that there are over two lakh seafarers.

Mumbai: Two seafarers’ associations have urged the Union government to allow those out in the seas to e-vote during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

The Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) has written to Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandavia seeking a mechanism to allow sailing Indian seafarers to exercise their franchise through e-voting.

“India seafarers seldom get an opportunity to exercise their franchise, which is considered to be the holiest of democratic rights under the Constitution. It may not be practical for them to vote through Indian missions abroad as ports they call at may not be near any such mission,” the March 14 letter by MASSA CEO Captain Shiv Halbe to Mandavia states.

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“Nowadays, many ships are equipped with internet facility on board, therefore, e-voting may be an option,” he wrote, adding that there are over two lakh seafarers.

The country’s oldest maritime grouping, the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) also issued a statement informing that it had passed a similar resolution recently in its annual general meeting.

Abdulgani Serang, NUSI general secretary-treasurer, said, “Indian seafarers sailing outside India during the election must be allowed to vote in a legitimate manner through the support of Indian embassies across the globe.”

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