Dr. Avnish Jolly, New Delhi, 6th May, 2009 : According to the Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan – NGO, Delhi, which is going to the polls on 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.
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 on Thursday perhaps for the first time with the help of an NGO working for the destitute.
Sanjay Kumar, Executive Director Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan said that our organisation has already enrolled 2,000 homeless people in the voter list and among them 500 have already got their voting card and this is the first time in India that homeless people who are eligible to cast their vote have been issued voter identity cards.
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 and 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.