What NOTA means to Chennai voters

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | April 24, 2014




All the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat of Puducherry went to polls today. We spoke to some citizens, who came to cast their vote, about the NOTA option or None of the above option wherein people can refuse to vote for any candidate, and here's what they had to say:

Baburaj, a faulty at IIT Madras who came to exercise his franchise at a booth in the campus, says, “The NOTA option is useful in places where a popular movement against the overall system is there. Otherwise I think most people will still have some hope and will want to vote for some or the other candidate.”

His wife Gayatri however feels that NOTA is an important option. She says, “I would have voted a lot of times earlier if the NOTA option was there. People who follow the political process closely are more likely to be dejected with all the candidates than people who are not so aware like those from lower sections of the society.”

Another IIT faculty Ranjit says, “I am in two minds as of now as far as selecting the NOTA option is concerned. As I know my vote will not be counted if I press NOTA I really have to think twice before I press button on EVM.” NOTA in the present form is of no use, the most this option can do is it might cut the votes of other candidates, adds Ranjit.

Prajukta a student says, “I don’t think NOTA is a good option. You are rejecting your right if you are not choosing any candidate.” However, his wife Sushmita feels NOTA is a good option. If you are not convinced with the background of candidates who are contesting in your area the best possible option in your hands is to go for NOTA, she says.

Krishnan, who voted at a booth in the Cantonment Board High School in Chennai South constituency, feels it won’t help and ultimately good candidates will suffer. “It is helpful in a country where awareness is more, literacy is more. In our country people come just to vote,” he adds. However, his son Gowrakh says, “I feel it is better to have NOTA option. Our vote should not at least go to a wrong person.”

NOTA was passed in a landmark judgment when the supreme court took into account the need for such an option on September 27, 2009. The idea was to increase participation so people would enter the election process and make their voices heard. The purpose of NOTA was to allow the voters to exercise their right to vote without being compelled to select a particular candidate without any alternate options being available.

Under this provision, even if the NOTA wins more votes than the candidates running for office, the contestant with the greatest number of votes will still be counted as the winner unless fresh elections are sought by the parties.

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