Many of us have Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) as friends or family, but having a special quota for them in Parliament is stretching things a bit too far. BJP leader Poonam Mahajan plans to introduce a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha seeking eight seats set aside for NRIs to be nominated. In justification, she cites the contribution of the Indian Diaspora to the country. In a report published in The Hindu, Mahajan was quoted as saying, “Just as two members of the Anglo-Indian community are nominated and needn’t fight elections, to address issues regarding their representation, NRIs too can be nominated through a Constitutional amendment.”
This is convoluted logic. It is the quota for Anglo-Indians that needs to be abandoned, instead, because in a country of so many tiny communities, there is no reason why only they should be so favoured.
The case for according NRIs such a privilege is flimsier still. Most decided to leave India because they saw better prospects overseas. They earned a lot of money, a portion of which might have come back to India. But apart from that, it’s not clear what their ‘contribution’ to the country is. Also, if NRIs are so keen on gaining membership of Parliament, they are welcome to return and fight elections like everyone else.