The election season is here. While many of you may be selecting your candidate, some of you may be keen on choosing the None of The Above (NOTA) option while casting your vote.
The student wings of different political parties in Bihar are trying to convince the voters, especially the first-timers, against pressing NOTA button on the EVM while exercising their franchise in this Lok Sabha election.
They have launched campaign against NOTA in several educational institutions and colleges before the polling dates.
As per the record, about 60 lakh voters in the country pressed NOTA button in 2014 general election and 5,81,011 (1.6%) among them were from Bihar.
All India Students’ Federation (AISF) will launch its campaign against NOTA and awareness camp at the state-level convention in Begusarai on March 31.
“The main target would be the college and university students, particularly the first-time voters. The objective is to guide them to choose the right candidate and not to waste their votes,” AISF representative said.
Chatra JD(U) is also to launch a campaign against NOTA at the Patna University colleges on April 2.
National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) is also likely to start the same campaign next week.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which has already started similar campaign and awareness drive, is now helping the people to get enrolled in the voter list at block and panchayat level.
NOTA or ‘None of the Above’ has been provided as an option to the voters of India in most elections. Through the usage of NOTA, a citizen can choose not to vote for any candidates who are contesting the elections. However, NOTA in India does not guarantee dismissal of the winning candidate. Therefore, it’s only a method to give a negative feedback. NOTA does not hold any electoral value i.e. even if the maximum votes are for NOTA, the candidate with maximum vote share will still be the winner.
A writ petition was filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). The Supreme Court of India judgment said, “We direct the Election Commission to provide necessary provision in the ballot papers/EVMs and another button called “None of the Above” (NOTA) may be provided in EVMs so that the voters, who come to the polling booth and decide not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray, are able to exercise their right not to vote while maintaining their right of secrecy.”
The Supreme Court also observed that it is essential that people of high moral and ethical values are chosen as people’s representatives for proper governance of the country, and NOTA button can compel political parties to nominate a sound candidate.
Since it’s introduction, NOTA has gained increasing popularity amongst the Indian electorate. In many elections, NOTA has won more votes than many of the political parties that contested.