Nota (None Of The Above): A Weapon Or A Gimmick
Published On : 27 Feb 2017
Article Category : Politics
Mantriji Content Manager
NOTA is a new concept for Indian electorate and people are still grasping about its effects on elections. In 2009, the Election Commission asked the Supreme Court to introduce the NOTA option for voting in the elections to empower voters and give them the right to reject all the candidates if they feel so. On 7th September 2013, the Supreme Court finally approved the introduction of none of the above (NOTA) option. During the 5 assembly elections held in that year around 15lakhs people exercised the NOTA option.
In India, in order to win an election, often political parties give ticket to candidates with criminal records and voters can’t do anything in such a situation. He / She has to make a compromise and give vote to “lesser of the two evils.” But NOTA will empower people to reject all candidates if they want. This will force political parties (to some extent) to appoint eligible candidates will clean backgrounds. Also, parties will think twice before giving ticket to any undeserving candidates. But, currently NOTA holds no electoral value. Even if the maximum number of votes is cased for NOTA, the candidates getting the highest votes (after NOTA) will win the election.
So why is NOTA still being used if it has no electoral value?
The main purpose of NOTA is to encourage the dissatisfied people to come to election booths and cast their votes. Earlier many people didn’t come to booths because they find no candidate eligible enough to give their votes to.
Besides that it comes under fundamental right to reject all candidates. Even at UN there is a privileged of veto. In Indian parliament, the MP’s can show their disapproval by either walking out or abstaining during a voting.
NOTA may be a new concept in India and people are still debating about its pros and cons but it has already been adopted in many other countries like USA, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Ukraine, Spain, Sweden, Chile, France, Belgium and Greece.
The present version of NOTA needs to be improved if the government really wants to empower voters. It should hold some electoral significance if the aim is to clear the political system from corrupt and immoral people. The weightage can be given in terms of how much % of NOTA votes are cast. For example, if more than 50% of vote are in favor of NOTA, then election commission should ask political parties to appoint new candidates for re-election.
But this kind of application of NOTA comes with an additional responsibility both for election commission and voters and EC needs to train and educate people properly about its use. Suppose a party feels that it has no chance of winning then it can influence its loyal voters to choose NOTA option so that if the total number cross the threshold then there is a chance of re-election.
In a country like India a re-election is neither desirable nor feasible. The period between the election and re- election can cause a lot of confusion and political instability. Major developmental decisions for that area can remain in the state of suspension and growth would be halted. So, the right to cast negative vote should be implemented very wisely. It is one of the fundamental right and people should exercise it. But, its implementation strategy needs to rethink twice before fully endorsing it. One way could be instead of overall NOTA, there can be a down-vote option for each candidate. There may be many other strategies like this which if implemented properly can make our election fair and politics clean.
Tags : Nota Election Commission Supreme Court Usa