Cyril Jacob (33) flew from Muscat to Cochin — 2,437 km — and then travelled another 220 km by train to Thiruvananthapuram. His aim: to vote.
Jacob, who has been waiting for the last five years to exercise his right, has a lesson for middle-class Indians who do not think much of voting.
“I wanted to be part of forming the government of my choice and so it didn’t matter how much this cost me. I just knew I had to come,” said the employee of an investment firm. “It’s a very exciting time for Indian politics and whatever we do today will reflect in the future.”
Several urban Indians across India and foreign shores have been making the journey to their hometown to vote. Apeksha Gupta (28), marketing manager, will be travelling from Bangalore to Chennai next week to vote. “While my choices are between the devil and the deep blue sea, this is the only way I can ensure a better tomorrow.”
For those living abroad, voting is perhaps the only way they can reach out to the government. Headhunter Prashant Mishra (32) travelled to Lucknow earlier this week only to vote against the BSP, as did photographer Andre Fanthome (27), who felt with politicians becoming younger, there stands a chance to make a difference.
And yes, it’s only those who can afford the cost and time that are making this extra effort. Malathy Joseph (34), who’s been living in London for the last seven years, said she stayed back in Coimbatore only to vote. “But it’s been hard. Getting registered as a voter is impossible unless you own a ration card.”
Ashish Nahata (29), US-based software engineer who was in Bangalore to vote, feels that the migrant population really misses out on participating in elections. “If only we had a postal ballot system things would be a lot easier for NRIs,” he said. “Till then we just have to spend our own money, to make a difference.”