The 400-odd Russians living or holidaying in Goa will now get a chance to vote in parliamentary elections in their country next month, even as they sunbathe in this beach state.
Russia's Mumbai-based consul general has written to the Goa government, asking the authorities to help organise a polling station by Dec 4 in Goa, where Russian citizens could cast their vote.
"Taking into account the friendly relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India, it will be highly appreciated if the chief minister's office provides organising work of the polling station in Goa," said the letter received by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat last week.
Speaking to IANS Sunday, advocate Vikram Varma, who represents the consulate in Mumbai, said that the polling station would be located in his office and nearly 400 Russians were expected to cast their vote in the polls.
"There are 150 Russian voters staying on long term visas in Goa. There are several thousand who are travelling to Goa on vacation. The number of voters we are looking at is about 400 or more," Varma said.
"This is a step forward in the India-Russian relationship and this is a courtesy which is extended to a democratic country," Varma said, adding that this was the first time that such a courtesy was being extended by India.
"Currently, Indians in Russia vote at the Indian embassy in Moscow, but if there are regions where large pockets of Indian nationals exist a similar courtesy could be extended there too," Varma said.