The right to chose none
going by hearsay, it’s a common enough sentiment and a reason for not stepping out of home on polling day: ‘But i don’t like any of the candidates!’ ever since the election commission of india introduced the ‘none of the above’ (nota) option on evms on october 11, 2013, after a supreme court order, more and more voters have expressed their disgust with our political system by pressing the last button. in the gujarat assembly elections, 5,51,615 voters said nota. That’s 1.8 percent of the votes cast, and more than 2.5 times the votes polled by the Aam Aadmi Party in the 29 seats it contested. Proportionately, it was also the second-highest nota vote in an assembly election: in the 2015 Bihar elections, 2.48 percent of voters chose nota. in Himachal Pradesh, which also went to the polls with gujarat, nota votes were 0.9 percent. And in the recent rk nagar byelections in Tamil nadu, the number of nota votes was higher that what the BJP polled. Parties ought to take these figures as a wake-up call, but are unlikely to do so: after all, candidates of the major parties are usually winning despite the notas. only when notas add up to losses for the major parties will they start thinking about fielding candidates who are effective lawmakers. Right now, as our columnist Chakshu Roy points out in his essay on page
20, they are mostly seen as those who will get work done. For that to change, we will first need governance that works.