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Dual citizenship dilemma to cost thousands of Goans their votes 

Dual citizenship has been discussed in Goa for the past many years. Whenever the issue was revived, calls were made to amend the rules to allow Goans to hold dual citizenship. If a breakthrough over the issue is not achieved Portuguese passport holder will cease to exist as Indian citizens.

“Any citizen of India who by naturalisation, registration or otherwise voluntarily acquires, or has at any time between the 26th January, 1950 and commencement of this Act voluntarily acquired, the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition or, as the case may be, such commencement, cease to be a citizen of India.” Reads The Citizenship Act, 1955.

What might entail?

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Under these circumstances, Goans holding Portuguese passports will lose their right to vote in the local election or take up Government services. Losing the right to vote by 5 – 10% (depending on actual numbers) of the population might impact election outcome.

A local Journalist from Goa on the basis of anonymity commented, “There will be an impact, considering the current MOI (Medium of Instruction) issue, taxi strike, citizenship issue and regional plan issue will impact BJP’S chance of getting re-elected in Goa.”

In 2015, the central government had decided to maintain the status quo over the issue,  “It has been decided to maintain status quo in the state of Goa regarding the citizenship issue till final decision in this regard is taken by the central government,” said Anand Joshi, under secretary to the government of India, in an office memorandum to the state government.

PIO or OCI

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Unless amendments are made to the Act and dual citizenship is allowed, chances of Portuguese passport- holders voting in the next election is near impossible. For now some respite may be enjoyed by acquiring PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Cards and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) citizenship.

According to RBI (Reserve Bank of India) a person holding either of these documents is able to, ” Acquire immovable property in India, other than agricultural land or, plantation property or farm house.” Beside they do not have travel restriction like other foreign nationals.

Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and the former CM of Goa has made his point clear on the issue clear in the past.

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“technically, even I was born a Portuguese citizen as my birth took place under Portuguese rule in Goa. All our forefathers were Portuguese citizens and based on the fact that our ancestors were born during Portuguese rule we can apply for Portuguese citizenship,”  he said in a report.

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