Governance

NOTA : The new-found reason to vote

Elections are a medium through which people express their opinions and show their trust towards a political party or a leader. It acts as a court where the people of a country, judge politicians, evaluate their performances and showcase their power.

Each and every vote is of immense importance during the time of elections. A study of the results of the Lok Sabha elections in past few years has shown that only a fraction of the population turns up to vote. Like many others I have always wondered why this happens. Well, there are various reasons behind this low turnout. For instance some do not vote for the lack of awareness, while others for the lack of interest and many more reasons.

One of the most common reasons that the youth give is that they do not approve of any of the candidates. Keeping in mind this difficulty, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement, directed the Election Commission to introduce an option in which the public would legally “not” choose a candidate. This has been done by providing for a button in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) called “None of the Above” (NOTA) and also by providing options in the ballot papers in order for the voters to exercise their right to reject non-deserving candidates in the election. This has opened doors, for many voters who would like to express their discontent. Not only can the people exercise their franchise but they also won’t be forced to select anyone.

In the recent elections that were held in Delhi, the capital city, nearly 1% out of 65.86% voters chose this option. As this is a new measure, there are not many who are aware of this option. If more people are aware of this option, the number of NOTA votes may increase. This right to reject has its own pros and cons.

On a positive note, we can be hopeful that this would make all the political parties more vigilant and careful about their candidates. Surely no political party can bear the cost of a re-election.  It would indeed be disgraceful and humiliating for the political parties if NOTA got more vote than any other candidate. Another advantage of introducing NOTA is that it would increase the voter turnout. It would indicate the awareness among people regarding elections.

But at the same time, the expenditure which would be incurred if NOTA got majority would be a burden on the people and on the country. And no doubt, it would be a cumbersome process.

Now since it has been introduced, I hope the elections in future don’t turn out to be an election between our NETAs and NOTA.

About the Author

IMG-20131222-WA0009Dhanya. T . Mallar is a first year law student in Symbiosis Law School. She strongly believes in “Be the change you want to see in the world.” She is enthusiastic about learning new languages.

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