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Why not NOTA?

The SJC election this year was marred by ‘NOTA’ (None Of The Above) stickers pasted as a form of dissent to the polls, which do not have the option. NOTA is an option given to voters during general elections to indicate that none of the candidates in the fray is their choice.

Prof. Arul Mani, Department of English, said about the need for NOTA in Indian elections: “It is best to check whether voters do not want to vote because of general dissatisfaction with candidates put up by the parties. It is an important feedback mechanism in democracy. It means that the parties have to introspect and find why they are failing to connect to people.”

However, in the case of vandalism at college, stickers reading ‘NOTA’ were stuck on the faces of the candidates’ posters. “If you want to stand, you stand, if you want your friend to stand you tell them to stand. If you are doing this then you are violating the candidates’ rights to campaign and it lowers the dignity of the election process,” said Mani

Brother Philip, ex-coordinator of Outreach Centre, said, “People should be encouraged to challenge the system in a democratic way and not in a violent way. Whoever is asking for NOTA has a fundamental right to choose a candidate as well to not choose one.”

He added: “Maybe he was frightened of the authorities and went for a not-so-pleasant way to protest. It is an eye-opener for everybody to discuss why we shouldn’t have NOTA. Then maybe next year we can have the option of NOTA.”

Keyur Parekh, 1st year BSc, said, “This year NOTA was clearly not needed because the competition was so high. I am amazed. I have never seen such competition before.”

Suresh, 3rd year BSc, said there should be a NOTA button. “We should have the option as it will give you an accurate idea of how many people feel that way so next time better candidates can be put for the elections. I think NOTA is very important, and beneficial, too.”


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