NRI travels from Dubai to cast vote in Odisha polls

Sambalpur (Odisha), May 25 (PTI) A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) has travelled thousands of miles from Dubai to cast his vote in the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Odisha on Saturday.

Priyadarshee Panigrahi, the son of former parliamentarian and Odisha minister Sriballav Panigrahi, has been staying in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates since 2008.

He undertook a 20-hour journey from Dubai to Kolkata via flight and then by train to Jharsuguda and finally by road to Sambalpur to reach his polling station at 11.30 am to exercise his franchise.

“I have a special connection with Sambalpur. I grew up here and my late father represented Sambalpur twice in 1971 and 1974 in the Odisha Assembly. So, coming here and voting was also my way of paying homage to my motherland and to my late father.

“I view voting as not only a right but also as a responsibility. I firmly believe that every vote counts. It is our duty to participate in the electoral process, no matter where we live in the world,” he said.

He plans to return to Dubai on Sunday after spending only one day in Odisha.

“My journey has attracted widespread attention, symbolising the global reach of Indian democracy and the enduring commitment of its citizens, no matter where they reside. If my journey encourages even one more person to vote, it will be worth it,” the NRI added.

At the age of 32, his father became India’s youngest cabinet minister in the Nandini Satpathy government in 1973.

Priyadarshee and his elder daughter Tisya are noted scuba divers. They are among the very few father-daughter advanced scuba divers from India and are always in the news for their unique scuba diving escapades.

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