Over a thousand Punjabi NRIs from several countries have arrived in their homestate to participate and canvass during the ongoing Lok sabha polls.
With the Punjabi diaspora having a sizeable population across the world, NRIs have come from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and France especially for the elections in the state, which will go to polls on April 30 in Punjab
"NRIs are taking a lot of interest in (Lok Sabha) elections this time. They want a new and a good political system to come in. That is why they are participating and helping political parties," NRI Sabha Punjab, President, Jasvir Singh Gill told PTI today.
Initially, there was not much response from NRIs but as elections draw near, NRIs are coming in a big way.
Between 1,000 and 1,500 NRIs have especially come for Lok Sabha elections, according to ex-MLA Jassi Khangura.
"NRIs have come in huge number this time. But their strength is not as much as we see in assembly polls," Khangura said.
"Several issues are important for NRIs like their own safety, security of their assets including residential and commercial, transparency, good governance and good infrastructure," said NRI Bhupinder Sidhu, who has especially come from Toronto for the polls, adding that NRIs want these issues to be addressed by the contestants.
A businessman by profession, Sidhu said he was campaigning for Congress candidates in Ludhiana and Amritsar.
Among major issues, NRIs point out seeking protection of their ancestral properties from encroachment and support of police for eviction.
He also sought that NRIs be allowed to vote online as it was difficult for NRIs to come all the way from foreign land for voting only.
NRIs can vote provided they are present in the constituency on the polling day to cast his or her vote.
In Punjab, there are 169 NRIs who are enrolled as voters including 60 female NRIs spread across the state.
Maximum NRIs are enrolled in Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituency at 43 voters, followed by Ludhiana at 28, Faridkot 20, Fatehgarh Sahib 17, Khadoor Sahib 15, Sangrur 14, Jalandhar and Anandpur Sahib
13 each, Ferozepur 4 and Amritsar 2.