Delhi State Election Commission on Sunday made it clear that it did not have a provision of 49(0) providing for the right to reject all candidates but only a Rule 54 whereby a voter who enters a booth and signs in but then decides not to vote can leave after signing a register.

Confused voters

Facing a volley of questions on the ticklish issue of the right to reject candidates, State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said at the fag end of polling on Sunday that voters who are confused and can not decide on a candidate can leave after submitting a form 11A in the register of the Presiding Officer.

He noted that “deciding not to vote is not the same as a vote to reject any candidate. Rejection, like Anna Hazare has been advocating, is not a clause yet.”

Mr. Mehta said the existing norms only provide for addressing the needs of the confused voters, not those who do not want to vote. “Our system is to vote, not ‘not to vote',” he said. “Why should those who do not have to vote stand in a queue for an hour.”

The Commissioner said as for the government officials, the SEC had given them forms along with their kits to cast their votes. “In case they were unable to submit these forms with their Returning Officers, they also had the option to deposit them with the RO of the area in which they were carrying out their poll-related duties.”

70,000 polling staff

In the meantime, the Commission has secured a day's leave on Monday for all the personnel who were in the polling parties. “We have got the sanctions from the Centre, the Delhi Government and the MCD on humanitarian grounds as the staff was on duty for the election on Sunday from 4 a.m. till midnight and it would not have been possible for them to resume work the following day,” Mr. Mehta said.

About 70,000 polling personnel are expected to benefit from the move.

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