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NOTA debuts as an alternative. Voters unsure about provisions during assembly elections

Sunday, 8 December 2013 - 6:25pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Although the Supreme court set a precedent by introducing NOTA, not many voters are clear about the provisions provided by the option. NOTA makes its debut in poll-bound states.

The newly introduced NOTA (None of the above) gives an option to all voters to change the course of political discourse by selecting none of the fielded candidates. If there is no majority, none of them will be declared the winner which will result in fresh elections.

A section of voters in New Delhi utilised the newly introduced NOTA (None of the above option) during the ballot process. Out of the 65.86% voters who turned out to vote, nearly 1% decided to give all the political parties a skip and use the new option. A total of 44,000 voters exercised this option in Delhi.

The apex judicial body, Supreme Court had meted out a verdict this september that voters have the right to reject all candidates contesting elections in the contituence, if they are not clear about the candidate's credibility or performance. They can use thhe newly introduced NOTA button.

On the lines of this directive, the Election commission of India introduced this option in the on-going assembly polls for states Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

Many hoped that the provision, which was introduced after Supreme Court ruling, would lead to the parties fielding to clean candidates to the polls. But, analysts feel that the quality of candidates has not changed much in these elections.

The purpose of NOTA was to allow the voters to exercise their right to vote without being compelled to select a particular candidate without any alternate options being available.

Under this provision, even if the NOTA wins more votes than the candidates running for office, the contestant with the greatest number of votes will still be counted as the winner unless fresh elections are sought by the parties.

In this way, this provision is a disappointment to many good government campaigners as it will not have a substantial impact.

Analysts expect NOTA to have less impact as many voters are not aware of the option. There are 800 million Indian voters and not all are aware of what NOTA is to them.

The usage of NOTA was in the following order in the poll-bound states,

Out of 72.52% voters who turned out to exercise their powers, 2 % went ahead and used the NOTA provisio in Madhya Pradesh.

In Rajasthan, there was record turn-out of 74 % but only 2% voters used this provision.

Meanwhile voters in Chattisgrah voiced their dissent by using 3 % NOTA option in the assembly elections. The total voter turn-out was a stupendous 77.6 %.

Understanding NOTA better:

Under the Supreme court's judgement dated 27 September 2013, the election commission is to provide an alternate option of 'NOTA' in the elections.

The voters who do not want to vote for any candidates can exercise this power in secrecy.

But, even if NOTA count is higher than votes received by any candidate, the candidate is elected as the winner, which raises many questions on the authenticity of NOTA among the public.

Not many are aware about all the provisions of NOTA. There will be many questions being raised on the functioing of NOTA in various cases. People went vocal and were seen either supporting NOTA or asking questions about it on Twitter.

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