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Activists seek NOTA option in urban body polls
Even as NOTA (None of The Above) has become an important topic in recent politics as voters used it to express their dissent and political parties to measure success, Tamil Nadu State Election Commission has not included the option for the local body elections. Arappor Iyakkam, an anti-graft organisation, has written to the SEC to include NOTA in the upcoming urban local body polls.
“While the Supreme Court delivered its Judgment on NOTA, it said that right to vote also includes a right not to vote i.e. right to reject. Right to reject implies that a voter while voting has every right not to opt for any of the candidates during an election. Such a right implies a choice to remain neutral. This may happen when a voter feels that none of the candidates in the seat deserves to be elected,” Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Arappor Iyakkam, said in a letter to V Palanikumar, State Election Commissioner.
He added that the decision of the SEC not to include NOTA in the EVMs also throws a big question on the independent functioning of the office of the Commission. The elections cannot be called free and fair if NOTA is not included as it denies the citizen their right to express themselves freely, the letter added.
The organisation requested the State Election Commissioner to include NOTA as the last button in all the EVMs immediately. “Even if it requires postponing the election for a week to make such an inclusion, it should be done in order to conduct the local body elections in a free and fair manner,” he urged.
While responding in a press meet, Chennai Corporation Commissioner and District Election Officer Gagandeep Singh Bedi said that the NOTA option was used in the recent rural local bodies elections. He claimed that the Chennai Corporation could only follow the instructions of the State Election Commission.
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