12th Apr 2019 10:04:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Elections 2019, the battle for formation of the 17th Lok Sabha and assemblies in four states has just kicked off with completion of first phase. The fates of candidates who contested in this phase will now be locked till May 23 in the EVMs and speculative calculations incorporating various factors are going to run high. At the same time, the last button of the EVM machine will also draw a considerable amount of attention. It is what we know as NOTA, the abbreviated form of None Of The Above, the tool which empowers an Indian voter to reject candidates whom they construe as unworthy to vote for.

NOTA hit the Indian elections canvas in 2013 after the Supreme Court allowed voters to cast a negative vote in elections through a landmark judgement passed in September 2013.The apex court felt that not allowing a person to cast a negative was against the very freedom of expression and right to liberty as guaranteed in Article 21 of the constitution. EC introduced it for the first time in 2013 assembly elections of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh and then in 2014 in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha elections. Since then NOTA has been here and this time too, no psephological calculation can ignore its presence.

Although still in infancy it has started making its presence felt.In the last Lok Sabha elections it got more than six million votes or 1.08 percent of total share and in closely fought elections in December2018 there were at least 23 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh and 16 in Rajasthan where NOTA votes were more than the margin of victory. This emphatic emergence has compelled all political parties to believe that NOTA has got the ability to affect outcome of some polls.

This rejection route often termed as the ‘vote of discontent’ has been a subject matter of debate for political observers and politicians alike, since the time of its introduction. It’s true that it does not hold any electoral value and have no consequences on election verdict which means even if maximum votes are for NOTA, the candidate with maximum vote share will still be the winner. But the real impact lies in its vote cutting abilities from contesting parties, and a message which goes out to them to come clean by giving tickets only to candidates with clean images.

Whether, it’s a positive step and should be given more teeth for ushering in electoral reforms or it’s only a waste of vote - all pros & cons will expectedly be argued in coming days. For the time being, like it or hate it, can’t ignore it, since it’s last but not least.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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