SNS | Kurseong | 24 May, 2016: Gradually, during elections, the mood of the voters seemto be diverted in pressing the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option button while voting throughout the nation, including the hills. At the same time several opinions are surfacing on the subject of NOTA. It was learnt that a large number of voters in the plains and in hills had opted for the NOTA option in the recently concluded West Bengal Assembly election. Only in the three assembly seats in Darjeeling hills, the NOTA option has bagged a total of 16607 votes (Kurseong- 7426, Darjeeling- 5817 and Kalimpong 3364).
Meanwhile, like in other places, in Darjeeling hills too, people are discussing about the NOTA option and also the voters who opted to cast their votes in favor of NOTA. A local resident said that the NOTA has got good votes in the hills and several notions on the subject has come out. He added that people should not take NOTA for granted but go for it as a conscious choice.
He believes that to cast one’s vote in NOTA does not only mean that he does not like any candidate instead by franchising this vote one actually wants to express that none of the candidates or parties are of his choice. He said he has cast his vote in NOTA because he does not like the political system. He further added that he believes that there should be one more option besides NOTA, with the symbol of Ashoka Chakra for those people or voters, who want governor’s or president’s rule in the particular area leaving politics aside.
As there are several people who want governor or president rule, he added. Notably, it was learnt that the Election Commission of India had introduced NOTA option on ballot papers displayed on EVMs and all other ballot papers with effect from 11 October 2013 pursuant to Supreme Court’s Order dated 27 September 2013. Later, on 18 September, the ECI also introduced a specific symbol like other election symbols for NOTA option to facilitate the voters in exercising their NOTA option.
Accordingly, since then, such symbol of NOTA option has appeared in the last panel on all EVMs and other ballot papers at all elections. The main objective of the NOTA option is to enable electors who do not wish to vote for any of the candidates to exercise their right not to vote for any candidate without violation of the secrecy of their decision.