Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has found an unlikely ally in rival Nationalist Congress Party over his demand to deny voting rights to those without a legitimate home.
Jayant Patil, NCP leader and guardian minister of the city, on Saturday, echoed concerns raised by Thackeray over voting rights granted to city’s homeless. Patil, who is also rural development minister, said that while he had sympathies for the homeless, granting them voting rights was unrealistic and unfair to other citizens.
“Can we give voting rights to people who may be living in the city for two or three days? Will it be fair if I get 5,000 people from my constituency, make them sleep on the streets for a couple of days, grant them voting rights and they vote in the upcoming elections?” Patil said while speaking to reporters at the state secretariat on Saturday.
He said by granting the homeless the right to vote, one could influence election results but such people cannot represent a civic ward as they are constantly on the move. As per the latest Election Commission directive, homeless people can be given the right to vote without an address proof as long as an officer from the commission goes to check the place where the person sleeps at night.
On Friday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray met the state election commissioner Debashish Chakraborty demanding that people living on the streets should not be allowed to vote as the move could encourage illegal immigration which could pose a threat to the city. He had also given Chakraborty a list of people whose names were on the voter’s list, but who were not living at the addresses they had provided.