ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Inclusion of Internal Migrants


Amid the heightened preparations for the upcoming general elections and the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections, the issue of non-participation of internal migrants as voters in India has also gained attention. The Election Commission has proposed the launch of remote voting machines (RVMs) to address the challenges faced by internal migrants in exercising their voting rights. This crucial reform aims to retrieve unpolled votes and usher in a momentous change towards greater democracy. The political inclusion of a significant portion of the migrant population is undermined by their lack of access to exercise their voting rights, emphasising the importance of assessing the potential impact of implementing RVMs in bolstering their political inclusivity.

Internal migrants in India encounter significant hurdles in exercising their right to vote due to their mobility. These obstacles are more prevalent for migrants with a lower socio-economic status, especially those engaged in the informal sector. Limited resources, lack of proper documentation, and spatial challenges contribute to their exclusion from the democratic process. A significant majority of these migrants resides in urban areas across India, often far away from their rural place of origin. Recent trends show a decline in urban voter turnout while rural voter turnout has increased. In 2020, a case study in Delhi highlighted the challenges faced by migrants in participating in the voting process. In 2011, an empirical study by Aajeevika Bureau discovered that seasonal migrants had limited political participation in both their home and host locations. This research indicates that a considerable number of eligible Indian voters who do not participate in the electoral process are those who temporarily reside outside their respective constituencies during the election period. The 2019 general elections in India saw approximately 900 million voters registered, with a 67% turnout, meaning that around 600 million people voted while 300 million did not.

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Updated On : 14th Aug, 2023
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