Why are the five-state elections from November 11 so important?
Because some people are calling them the semi-finals before the general election;
Because they will be Narendra Modi’s first multi-state test;
Because Sheila Dikshit is “totally confident” that she will remain Aunty No. 1 in Delhi;
Because Shivraj Singh Chouhan is being projected as everybody’s “uncle” in the battle against Jyotiraditya Scindia;
None of the above. Beep!
New Delhi, Oct. 4: The Nota (None of the above) button will make its debut on November 11 when the first phase of the Assembly polls is held in Chhattisgarh.
The option to reject all candidates will then wind its way through the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi.
As many as 11 crore voters will get a chance to try out the button which will be located below the last of the candidates’ names on the electronic voting machine.
“For the first time, voters will get to exercise their right to reject all candidates contesting the elections by using Nota on the electronic voting machines. The commission is working out the details and steps for introduction of the option in these polls itself,” chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath told reporters.
He added that awareness campaigns on the button would be launched among voters.
Till now, voters who did not want to elect any of the candidates had to record the Nota option in a register, which compromised secrecy. But the Supreme Court last month directed the poll panel to include the Nota option on ballot papers and EVMs.
Nota will be among the three new initiatives to be tried out this time. “Awareness observers” will be deployed to oversee the management of the election process and to motivate voters to come out and exercise their franchise. “They will also help us ascertain the reason behind low turnouts,” Sampath said.
The commission will reject the nomination paper if a candidate leaves any column blank in the affidavit, a rule that follows a Supreme Court order.