| BJP East Champaran MP Radha Mohan Singh |
The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment of allowing citizens to reject candidates in elections has united leaders across the political spectrum in the state, barring a few.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar appreciated the order and said: “We used to raise the issue of right to recall during the JP Movement and we were committed to it. As far as the right to reject is concerned, the democratic fabric should be strengthened and I think it will give opportunity to empower the common man.”
The court has directed the Election Commission to provide a “None of the above” option at the end of the list of candidates in electronic voting machines and “NOTA” on the ballot papers to allow voters to exercise their choice.
Even opposition leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “It is a welcome move and people should have a choice to reject. We can also think of re-election if none get more votes.”
The apex court said the right to reject candidates in elections is part of a fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression given by the Constitution.
Radha Mohan Singh, a BJP leader and an MP from East Champaran constituency, welcomed the verdict but suggested that another law should come into the electoral process, which makes it mandatory for every citizen to cast their vote. “It is a historic verdict and people should have right to reject the candidate. However, in a similar way, another law should be formed in which every citizen should be asked to cast their vote. ”
The JD(U) MP from Munger constituency, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, said the right to reject will strengthen the democracy and encourage people to use their constitutional power.
Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said: “It was very important to bring this new law. I hope the electoral process becomes more transparent. It will give the power to the citizen to come out and vote against all leaders who do not meet people’s expectation. It will also send a message to political parties to choose the right candidate.”
However, Congress leader Sadanand Singh did not seem too pleased with the verdict. “I don’t think it will make a difference or have a positive impact on the electoral process.”