Monday, 28 April 2014

The None Of the Above anomaly

For now, not this one
In October last year, when the Election Commission first introduced the concept of ‘None of the above’ option for the general elections, I was so excited that, for a moment, I considered  endorsing a plain white flag in support of that option and start an election campaign of my own in constituencies stricken with “bad” candidates/options. Democracy never ceases to spread out and flex its muscles parading its presence from time to time, does it?

But the initial excitement was slowly replaced with rational, pragmatic outlook on the NOTA because as democracy does, and always will, it did not provide us with a satisfying complete meal here, but rather a humdrum Yeah-I-am-here-folks plate meal initially, which has to be subjected to thoughtful revisions before it can be considered to be thoroughly consumed by those seeking it.

The problem with None of the Above option too is simple, it is rendered pointless because of its clear gaping flaw: None of the above option cannot enforce a re-election in the case of it obtaining the majority of votes, i.e, the one who has obtained second highest majority, second to NOTA option, is the winner.

An argument can be made that NOTA option was never meant to be what-we-all-so-obviously-want-it to be but was only a means to culminate stats who were dissatisfied with those contesting.

But imagine this, how many of us (those like me), who, even though are dissatisfied, end up choosing from the lot rather than going for NOTA just to make sure that the vote does not go down the drain? So NOTA option does not even reflect that stat properly. In a way, NOTA’s presence this year round could do nothing but dilute the number of votes for particular candidates, and therein creating another problem for those few better-of-the-lot candidates contesting in elections. Hence, it serves practically no purpose for the 2014 General Elections just because it was introduced haphazardly without thoroughly examining the chinks in its armor.

But NOTA, if properly reviewed and implemented accordingly, in the coming years, can be the most powerful democratic tool handed to the common man in general elections, because it would then have the power to reject unworthy candidates, demanding and forcing political parties to field better leaders.

Till then, it is necessary that we ignore this option completely so as not to let our once-in-five-years democratic exercise to be a number in a pile of counter-productive statistical data. And as always, the best that can be done is to go through the list of candidates closely, scrutinize pros and cons of their promises and hope the best candidate represents you in the assembly and parliament.

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