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The Right to say No........

A choice is “A decision to choose one thing, person, or course of action in preference to others”. A choice is made between options which are acceptable to the person making them.
The right to say no is a required option when faced with choosing between options not favorable or acceptable to us. Why is it that we are denied the basic right when we chose our representatives in parliament, legislature or municipalities. Time and again we have to vote and chose between options which rather than being the best are more likely to be the least of the worst variety. What stops the election commission from introducing the “None of the above” option in the election rolls.
It does throw up pertinent questions as to what is to be done, if this options wins, what happens next, so on and so forth, but is the answer really that difficult to answer. If the option garners more votes then it means, none of the people who were on the roll were found eligible by the people to lead the constituency and should be barred from contesting any elections from the place for a predetermined time and new elections should be held and should be held till a candidate gets votes more than not only the rest of the candidates, but also more than the “none” option.
This will be a way to make sure parties put up candidates who are acceptable to the majority and at the same time they will hesitate to put forth candidates who do not have the a fair chance of making it coz if they garner less votes than the “none” option the candidate finds himself out of contention for a period of time.
This is a way to make politics more responsible to the people they represent and also make them aware of the rights of the people to not just chose them but also “reject” them when they do not match up.

RTI, if it continues in the current form will go a long way in cleaning up the system, if used proactively by the common populace and the media plays a positive role in highlighting the poster cases, similarly the election commission can clean up the electoral system by introducing a seemingly insignificant option but which when veiled by the common masses will make sure only the responsible and the truly worthy get into the field of representing the people.

Why shouldn’t India set an example and introduce the option having the power to nip in the bud unfavorable elements getting into the system in the first place?


Voters for None of the Above ( ) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to enacting Voter Consent laws, giving voters the ballot option to reject all candidates for an office and to call for a new election, with new candidates, to fill that office.

Our efforts are based on two principles:

1) In a democracy, government must obtain the consent of the governed;

2) All legitimate consent requires the ability to withhold consent.

A None of the Above ballot option will enable voters to withhold their consent in elections to office just as they can when voting on ballot questions by voting NO.
liju said…
A good idea in terms of its intent of a better democracy in India. But if our intent is so true, then let us think aloud about it.

1) Why do the wrong guys get elected?
Because politics is not cool enough for the current generation, especially those who are well educated and capable.

2) Why do the wrong guys get elected
Because the common man does not want to waste his holiday by going to vote.

3) Why do the wrong guys get elected
Because the system does not allow the good guys to function.

And our solution: "None of the above".

Cost of election in India : 1000 crores.

This solution is again in line with our lazy approach to the issue. Will re-elections suddenly throw us the good guys out of nowhere..that too at the cost of 1000 crore.. in a still developing nation.

If one is true about his concern,
1) Enter politics or
2) Make it cool enough for others to do so
3) Enable transparency through active forums for government processes.

Devesh Rao said…
We will be missing the trees for the bush if we think of the NOTA as a one stop action for suddenly getting the good guys in.

I will ask of you an analogy, what we do when the sink in our kitchen choked, we purge it right. Flushing it is not a clean job nor is it something which a person likes to do but still it is a price to be paid for peace at home right…?

Similarly the system is so choked up that a purge is required before we even start thinking of getting some sort of decorum in place.

Let’s look at the options you have given and let me try explaining NOTA if implemented will work towards the very options you wish for

If one is true about his concern,
1) Enter politics or
2) Make it cool enough for others to do so
3) Enable transparency through active forums for government processes.

1’s Option: not everyone can enter politics right, nor is it feasible for every one to start thinking of getting into a field which is not the person’s forte. A person should be involved in something which he/she is good at. I may not be good at politics but I have a stake in choosing the people I want to be in politics hence the right to say no if I do not like the options. It is a willful decision and not something like choosing the least of the worst as it happens in most of the elections nowadays.

2’nd Option: You must have heard the saying “Bird’s of a feather flock together”. When the lawmakers are themselves the lawbreakers how do you think it is suddenly going to be cool for people to get into politics. Politics is not cool it’s about hard work and sacrifices with people with good intentions at heart. It is business for people, who form the majority nowadays. How do we get the chaff out while leaving the grain behind?
Do you suppose any well meaning Act has the remotest possibility of getting through, if it is going to harm the way the system works?

3’rd Option: Transparency is there, its all in the clear. We have seen cases of ministers being openly corrupt, feeling no shame in accepting bribes, negotiating with mafias, being involved in immoral behavior. What happens of them? Nothing they keep on returning to be elected as there is the TINA factor, to fight a criminal a party puts up another criminal as it knows it cannot hope to win a skewed election. So it all ends up with almost all the parties putting up candidates with criminal background. Scruples are an unknown word to the politicians of our age. We need to get that back somehow.

NOTA is not a means to end all evil, but it sure is a step in the right direction. Currently the majority is skewed against the people who mean good. We need a means to correct that balance. It may not make the election of good easier but it sure will make election of the bad harder. And that will be a small step in the right direction.

Re-elections may cost a definite amount of time, and people may think why that expense. Just for one moment think what expense it will be to the nation if the wrong person gets chosen. Isn’t the reelection a necessary damage one pays for taking step towards a cleaner administration?
NOTA is also a sort of incentive for parties willing to put up clean candidates but which currently do not for want of putting up a fight. At least they will not have their candidate debarred from elections if he/she polls less than the NOTA votes. NOTA will be a major disincentive for parties who put up candidate who polls less than the NOTA votes both monetary and in face. This may eventually prompt them to put up cleaner candidates and make them accountable to the people.

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