The none-of-the-above option, which the Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to include in voting machines (“Yes to the no-vote option,” Sept. 28), will, no doubt, draw the elite and upper middle class electorate which was hitherto reluctant to vote to the polling booths. But the option will not serve the purpose until some practical hurdles are removed.
If a majority of voters choose not to vote for any candidate, will the election be declared void? Can democracy survive under such circumstances? Democracy is not just about exercising the right to vote; it is also about voting responsibly.
Kunreddy Naveen, Nalgonda
The no-vote option will enhance inclusion of people in the election process but the fact remains that it will make the constitutional machinery defunct. A re-poll will only mean a heavy burden on the exchequer and cause the twin sisters of corruption and malpractices to grow manifold. Although the court decision is commendable, we need to be cautious about adopting the NOTA option.
Nithya G. Nair, Thiruvanathapuram
The court direction is a boon to all those who cannot express their anger directly at the political system. It is a weapon to tackle muscle and money power. The common man will henceforth have the option of ushering in clean governance.
Anand Kumar, Meerut
Doubts such as what will happen if the number of voters who use the no-vote option is more than the maximum number of votes polled by a candidate should be cleared. These problems can be sorted out only through discussion but should not dampen implementation of the no-vote option.
S. Nallasivan, Tirunelveli
The reform is a welcome change. In constituencies where a majority of voters opt for NOTA, the EC should order re-poll. Political parties should field different candidates. This will certainly change the way elections are conducted in India.
Nipun Jindal, Chandigarh
The option will increase voter participation. If NOTA votes exceed 50 per cent in a constituency, re-polling should be done after eliminating candidates with the lowest tally.
Vinayak Pawar, Rahuri
The right to reject is fundamental to cleansing politics. It will not only give voters another choice but also motivate reluctant people to exercise their franchise.
P.A. Sabareesh, Ernakulam
The court direction, though late, is welcome. In a democracy, a voter should have the right to express his displeasure. One hopes the NOTA option will make parties field worthy candidates. It is another milestone in Indian democracy.
M. Richie Dayal, Hyderabad
At present, those who wish to record a ‘no vote’ option have to sign a form (49 O). I did that in the last Assembly election. People behind me in the queue could easily see that I was exercising the option. Since I live in a village, where everybody is known to everybody, many people asked me why I had rejected all the candidates. I felt extremely embarrassed. Thus the court order is most welcome.
K. Marxe, Alangudi
Introducing NOTA will not affect the present voting system much because most of those who vote don’t really exercise their right responsibly. They vote for cash and other inducements given by politicians. They will never choose the no-vote option.
P.R. Harith Varma, Hyderabad