NOTA: Time to let go of the penchant for 'majority'

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 7:25am IST | Agency: DNA

Something stops me from calling them a sham, even though Indian elections are all about double standards.

Take the case of the None Of The Above (NOTA) option. If NOTA gets the maximum votes in a constituency, the candidate getting the next best numbers is declared the winner.
But when a candidate winning from two seats gives up one, we go for a bye-election. We also go for a bye-election in the event of a representative's death. Why can't we declare the runners-up the winners in these cases, the NOTA way?

If wasteful expenditure and logistical nightmares of a re-election are the reasons for not honouring the majority verdict, it should be applied in all scenarios. But we choose winners by majority votes on some occasions and by the convenience of our political parties on the other. Parties' convenience takes precedence over people's verdict. That's what Indian democracy is.
Still, I accept it, as in this double standard, there's a solution to hung Houses.

When it comes to government formation, if no party or alliance gets a majority, we do give the next best party a chance — on the condition that it should prove its majority later. The mad scramble that follows for majority numbers only leads to horse-trading, floor-crossing, dirty money, corruption, emergence of smaller parties and hung Houses.

Why can't we follow the NOTA way here and declare the single-largest party the winner?

There's absolutely nothing undemocratic in going for the next best, when you don't get the best. Our political parties, which thump chests in the name of majority numbers, should remember one thing: this is a system where parties that are not even heard of in a number of states are called national parties. What right do these parties have to insist on majority numbers then? In any case, they don't so insist in a NOTA-majority scenario.

Let's not forget that the concept of single-party majority is long dead. Alliances are prone to coalition pressures, and, hence, unstable. Opinion polls for 2014 predict a single-largest party status for the BJP. No majority for anyone. That's the reality.

Let's then stop this majority appeasement. This Mr Majority is a pain. His face can launch a thousand elections. We who have the patent for zero should not have this penchant for majority.

So, isn't it time we amended our laws to declare the single-largest party as the winner in a no-majority scenario? Or, should we wait for a majority opinion?


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