NOTA – None of the Above option
You like the candidate you press the button in front of the party’s symbol to vote on electronic voting machines. Now if you do not like the entire list of candidates you have an option of NOTA or ‘None of the Above’. Voters have all rights to press this option if they wish to reject all the political parties contesting the elections. So instead of sitting at home just go and show your wish.
Earlier the citizens of India were not provided with the option NOTA but in 2009 the Election Commission stated its desire to the Supreme Court to add NOTA at the ballet. Government opposed NOTA as this was one of the ways to dilute the number of votes. On the contrary the Supreme Court of India ordered to add the option on 27 September 2013 with a belief that it will definitely increase the number of voters. The orders were passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections 814million people are eligible to vote for 543 constituencies in 9.3 lakh polling stations and for the first time NOTA will be introduced in the Lok Sabha elections. Though objective of adding this option was to give clean candidates and to increase the overall quality but according to experts NOTA is not able to fulfill this objective as there is no change in the quality of fielded candidates. For the past two decades number of criminals in politics have been increasing. 30% of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected in 2009 had pending criminals charges against them such as rape, dowry violence, extortion, violence against women etc. According to the survey conducted by the National Election Watch and the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) in 2014, one out of every three candidates of the BJP and Congress has criminal charges against them. 35% of the BJP’s candidate and 27% of Congress candidates have criminal charges against them.
Social activist Anna Hazare has appealed the voters to use NOTA button if they are not able to find right candidate. He said that our political system won’t change by changing the party. If one candidate has done graduation in corruption the other has done post graduation. He called alert voters the pillars of democracy.
Las year more than 15 lakh people out of 11.53 voters i.e. near about 1.31% in the five state assembly elections used the option NOTA. In Delhi, 49,730 voters used NOTA option, close to 3.56 lakh voters used it in Chattisgarh, in Madhya Pradesh 5.9 lakh and in Rajasthan 5.67 lakh voters exercised the option of NOTA.
Though providing NOTA is really a good move but it is useless if not analyzed properly. First of all NOTA votes will be considered as invalid votes. The candidate with greatest number of votes will be considered as a winner even if he or she has the lower number of votes than NOTA unless other political parties sought for fresh elections. So ‘None of the Above’ option won’t have a significant impact. But this condition must be analyzed properly and NOTA must be taken seriously. It must be found out that why people have opted NOTA when they have so many other choices. This means political parties are unable to find and project the suitable and right person.
Where is the NOTA Buttons on the electronic voting machine?
NOTA is the last button in the list of candidates. It is read as None of the Above – NOTA.
As a voter I feel that NOTA is just like a dislike button on social media. But experts must analyze the quality in case NOTA number is significant. If it is left as it is then there is no use of this powerful ‘None of the Above’ option.