I am a citizen who pays income tax.So why can't I vote ? Simple,because I don't have a voter I card. Nowadays,it is all over the media-celebrities urging the common man to vote.Also,some corporates are aiding the people in getting them registered as voters by urging them to apply for voter identity cards et al.
I was staying in Bhandup immediately after marriage & remember having gone & applied for the voter I card quite late in the night -I still vividly recall having been photographed in a municipal school there but nothing came out of it.Again,some years later,in Chunabhatti,I sincerely went & filled up the application form & also submitted it in yet another municipal school.This time round,I wasn't even photographed.So eventually,again,I missed voting.
This time,I decided not to pursue at all, but,then, there are reasons.This is so, as I stay in a relative's house.It is owned by him.Of course,I pay rent & all monthly bills like piped gas,telephone,electricity etc but all bills are in his name & so I have no residence proof which is needed for applying for the voter I card.
I am, so sure, that there are millions like me, who stay in places about which they cannot submit any residence proof.Does this make all of them any less of a citizen than others ?Is there no way out ?
The PAN card ,I feel, is the most simple document, as far as details are needed but ironically,a PAN card cannot be proof of residence as it does not give details of your residence.This is laughable as an income tax payee is an Indian Citizen for the duty of paying tax but not as far as the right to vote & other issues are concerned.I do have a passport but, then ,I have it, on my old address.
Getting a Passport is another ordeal.For that,again proof of residence or ration card is needed for residence proof.Ration card is a relic of the war times & can't the Government do away with it ? For almost any thing, you need, the ration card.Suppose,you need a telephone connection,you need a ration card,for school admission you need it ,-you name it & you need a ration card.All parties proclaim that they will weed out corruption but the ration card which is so symbolic of corruption continues to hold sway on all of us .So much for the anti-corruption proclamations !
So, we keep going in circles for proving to ourselves & others that we are, indeed, citizens of this country.Why can't we have a simple identity card which declares that we are Indian Citizens.None of the parties are interested in doing this- so it is time, we,force the government to act on this.Such a card will be a boon to the common man as he will feel less harassed which is, well, almost, like asking for the moon in our nation state as everybody will tell you.