Homeless too will vote, thanks to NGO

May 6th, 2009 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Dharmendra, a wheelchair-bound citizen in north Delhi, is among hundreds of homeless people in the national capital who will be able to cast their vote Thursday - perhaps for the first time - with the help of an NGO working for the destitute.
“Our organisation has already enrolled 2,000 homeless people in the voter list and among them 500 have already got their voting card,” said Sanjay Kumar, executive director of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan.

The NGO, which works for homeless people, has taken a lead in enabling people living on the streets of Delhi to exercise their franchise.

“This is the first time in India that homeless people who are eligible to cast their vote have been issued voter identity cards,” Kumar told IANS.

He said they had first approached the Delhi Election Commission in 2003-2004 in an attempt to sensitise them on the issue of homeless people.

“We provide them with Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan ID cards. These identity cards are recognised by the Election Commission and it allows them to enrol themselves in the list,” Kumar added.

According to the NGO, Delhi, which is going to the polls Thursday, has around 165,000 homeless people, with most of them living off alms to survive.

“I am voting for the first time. I have got my voter’s card recently,” said 27-year-old Dharmendra, who lives on the streets of Kamla Nagar in north Delhi and begs for alms at the Hanuman Temple.

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