Dr Nasim Zaidi 12 August 2016
Chief Election Commissioner of India
Sub: HCV/Truck Drivers – Postal Ballot Facility – Exercise of Democratic Rights
As of today, I have travelled 25,000 KM in trucks on Indian highways and between 2010 and now, individually met more than 15,000 long haul truck drivers under KRK Foundation, a registered Trust focused on improving the working and living conditions of truck drivers since February 2013.
It beats me that why these “unlettered professionals” desire to have a say in the election/selection of political leaders to rule over them is not responded positively. They want their voice their need to exercise their democratic rights in the Republic of India.
These drivers – running into huge numbers (70 lakhs commercial vehicles run on Indian roads) – have been sharing their thoughts on this critical issue with me over the past seven years as I keep crisscrossing India in trucks to understand their working and living conditions.
On crucial polling dates for Assembly or Parliament, a major chunk of them are ‘ON DUTY’ – steering toiletries, food, medicine, motor fuel and what not – so that aam janta and Constitutional Heads such as the President of India, your goodself and the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India are not deprived of ‘necessities’.
Like army, police and government employees on polling duty, even these truck drivers are on a ‘crucial mission’ – far away from their homes.
Therefore, they simply cannot cast their votes at the designated polling booth on the give polling day.
While the entire nation takes a day off from their regular work to exercise their democratic rights (how many of them actually utilize this golden right is debatable) with pay, truck drivers cannot even be offered such a facility.
Why? Because they cannot leave their loaded/unloaded vehicles on the highways wherever they are to rush back home, cast their votes and return to stranded vehicles within 24-hour cycle. Their living and working conditions are pathetic and they strongly feel political parties DO NOT consider them as vote banks. In a way, they are voiceless and not represented by political parties.
Hence these truck drivers pondering about ways and means to have a ‘say’.
The adult franchise enshrined in the Indian Constitution be allowed to be exercised by those needy ones who want to.
Therefore, I request your goodself to examine this request of truck drivers to use ‘postal ballot’ route.
Election Commission, am sure, can devise ways and means In this regard.
We shall be grateful to Election Commission if it can do something in this regard.
Waiting to hear from you,
Copy to Hon’ble President, Republic of India, New Delhi
Copy to Hon’ble Prime Minister, Republic of India, New Delhi