A lower turnout i
n urban constituencies in the past has been associated with a general mood of dissatisfaction of urban voters with political parties and contesting candidates. NOTA or “none of the above” is the option provided to the voters in India to show their discontent towards candidates participating in the election. It is a method of giving negative feedback. We can see a trend of increased preference to NOTA over the candidates. This trend suggests the growing discontent among the voters.
Based on the calculations of the Election Commission, NOTA has crossed the victory margin of the 22 winning constituencies in Madhya Pradesh. According to the information available on Election Commission’s website, the NOTA votes ranged as high as 2.1% in Chhattisgarh to 0.5% in Mizoram. However, NOTA is just a tool which can give the voters a moral win. There are a few things that one should keep in mind before voting NOTA; NOTA do not have a legal or constitutional validity to affect an election. It is just symbolic. Any percentage of NOTA votes does not affect the election at all.
Let’s take an example, if there are two candidates A and B, and NOTA respectively. If NOTA gets 60% votes, candidate A gets 30% votes and candidate B gets 10% votes, the winner will be candidate A and not NOTA. The number of NOTA votes just reflects an opinion among voters without the result. High number of NOTA votes reflects negative opinion and low number reflects positive. But as we can see the increase in the number of votes going to NOTA, there should be modification in the usage of NOTA. NOTA should be given constitutional validity. So far, there has been no provision for the re-election in a constituency if NOTA gets the highest votes. This provision should be modified.
The discontent of the voters towards candidates should be seen by the count of NOTA votes and political parties should keep in mind the opinion of people who are not willing to be governed by such leaders. High number of NOTA votes should also make the parties change their candidate fighting the election. Thus, empowering NOTA is in a way empowering democracy. But before deciding to vote always think about the chances of choosing a better leader among the candidates. NOTA shouldn’t be an absolute option. Unless modifications are done and new provisions are made, NOTA is just a moral win in form of dissatisfaction of voters. It’s up to you whether you cast your vote to NOTA or not. However, total voter turnout in 2014 general election was 66.40%, so even if you cast your vote to NOTA, it’s a contribution.