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Wednesday, July 06 2022
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Will the weapon of NOTA be a ‘worthless’ option or ‘stirs’ elections? - 3 min read

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The Supreme Court of India in year 2013, on September 27 had passed a rule that the right to register, None of the above (NOTA) vote should be applied in the elections so as to augment more participation of voters.

Defining NOTA, Zila Panchayat CEO Tulasi Maddineni says, “The basic aim of NOTA is to provide a button in the EVM (Electronic voting machine) in order to protect the identity and secrecy of a voter who does not want to vote for any candidate,” told News Karnataka.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a non-governmental organisation, filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in support of NOTA, where they demanded of re-polling in basis of NOTA in the Supreme Court.

When questioned with reference to the PIL appeal filed by the PUCL, Tulasi avers that the Supreme Court has not delivered any verdict or any clarification on it. Besides, in future the possibility of re-polling may take place.

However, she ascertained that NOTA, as of now is not a negative voting, neither does it considered to be a vote. It just gives the option of securing the identity of the voter who does not wish to vote for any of the candidates on the nomination list, she says.

Also, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking direction to the Election Commission to hold a re-poll in a constituency when 50 percent or more voters vote for NOTA, rejecting all candidates.

Recently addressing a media at Bangalore, B Damodar, general secretary of Gram Panchayat Hakkotaya Andolana said that the “(NOTA) option should have significance. Re-election must be held if the number of NOTA votes is more than the votes garnered by the winning candidate in a particular constituency, he demanded.”

Speaking to News Karnataka, Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya President Dinesh Holla said, “Sahyadri  Samrakshana Sanchaya, Mangalore, has requested the people to opt for the NOTA in the Lok Sabha election, thereby boycotting all candidates, who have been turning deaf ears to people’s problems and adamantly imposing projects like Yetthinahole, which is detrimental to the district.”

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“Moreover, there is no right candidate whom we can vote, thus even if NOTA is invalid now, people can at least count the number of NOTA votes and thus a visibility will be rendered that we are against the ruling as well as opposition and our protest against the Yetthinahole project will be asserted”, he added.

Also, he mentioned that they have printed around 50,000 pamphlets propagating NOTA.

Further, in a recent visit to the city, former president Dr Abdul Kalam stated NOTA as a ‘worthless’ option.

Besides, a student from one of the well-known colleges in the city, stated that NOTA is a good option, because although there are no proposition in the present, in a long-term scenario when more number of people vote for NOTA, the government and the Apex court will realize the importance and may opt of re-poll, he stated.

The option of NOTA was first time introduced in the five state assembly elections on 4 December 2013, which made a notable impact as more than 15 lakh people exercised the option in all the four states.

Although just 1.31 percent of the total 11.53 crore voters used the NOTA option; in Delhi, 49,730 voters opted for NOTA; in Chattisgarh, around 3.56 lakh voters opted for NOTA while in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, 5.9 lakh and 5.67 lakh voters respectively pressed the NOTA button on voting machines.

The option was first made available in the November-December assembly polls in five states last year, which will now  be made available for this year in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to a staggering 814 million voters, whose numbers have seen an increase of some 100 million from 2009.

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