If you’re over 18 and have cast your vote during an election at least once, you might be aware of the last option available below the names of all the candidates, called NOTA which means ‘None of the above’. It simply indicates that you don’t want any candidate from the candidate list to be your next leader. The NOTA option was made available in India from 2009 onwards. Initially, people weren’t much sure about how to use this option effectively and some people still have confusion about the reason for its existence.
Indian elections have always been choosing the least bad one. If one doesn’t like the X government then though they don’t appreciate they Y government still choose Y because of a lack of option. This is when NOTA comes into the picture, where the people aren’t considering either of the options.
The main motive behind the introduction of NOTA was to know negative feedback common to all candidates. Without NOTA, it was difficult to analyze whether people voted for Candidate A because they think Candidate A is the right choice or because Candidate B is not much promising according to their personal views. There was a necessity on choosing at least one candidate even if we still don’t wish to vote them and see them as our next leader. Hence, NOTA was introduced. Many countries still haven’t introduced this as they think NOTA will never be the best option to go with. India was the 14th country to implement this and in 2013 state elections, over 15 lakh people chose to cast their vote on NOTA.
As we can see that many people might have a different opinion rather than choosing at least one candidate, the total number of votes given to NOTA may come out to be more than 50%. In that case, there is a high chance for re-elections to be conducted and it is also quite evident that all the candidates who stood up in the previous election may not be allowed to represent themselves in this one. This signifies the importance of NOTA, if used properly, then it gives a better option and maybe a better view of democracy.
Contributed by Varun Modi content writer at Mitti Ke Rang
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