I am a desperate citizen who could not exercise my right to vote according to my choice. I wanted to vote under Rule 49-O. The polling booth officials tried to convince me to vote for someone, even an Independent. They repeatedly told me that they did not have the ‘facility.' When I insisted, they humbly said they were unable to issue Form 17 A. In the end, I ended up voting for a candidate because I was not interested in arguing with them and I knew I had no support from anyone. I did not want to waste my vote either. As a common voter, I suggest that the 49-O option be included in the EVM itself.
Avinash Sendil Kumar,
I wanted to vote under 49-O in this election. The first polling officer read out my name and the second got my signature. When I demanded Form 17 A, the presiding officer said it had not been issued to them. I had to cast my vote reluctantly.
When I told the polling officer I wanted to vote under Rule 49-O, he said he was not aware of the provision. The others looked at me as if I had come from Mars. Thus — due to the ignorance of the officials — I was forced to cast my vote much against my wishes.
It appears that many are unaware of the 49-O option. Most people in the polling booths look at those wanting to vote under Rule 49-O strangely and ask whether there is indeed an option to reject all candidates. The supporters of different candidates stare at us as if we have committed a crime because they fear we may influence the other voters. The Election Commission should provide more exposure on 49-O and make it an option in the EVM.