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Students for and against NOTA

MAKING A POINT: A student takes part in the inter-school debate at Narbheram Hansraj cradle in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jamshedpur: It was a battle of words on the Bistupur campus of Narbheram Hansraj English School on Wednesday.

Over 34 students from 17 steel city schools took part in an inter-school debate where children expressed their opinions on the topic 'Voters should be given the choice of NOTA (None of the Above)'.

Loyola School was adjudged the best team and took home a trophy, a cash prize of Rs 3,000 and certificates. The first runner-up prize went to the team from Hill Top School who also received a trophy, certificates and a cash prize of Rs 1,000.

"Our main aim was to instil a sense of political awareness among the students of Classes X to XII," said school principal Paramita Roy Choudhary.

While a group of students spoke 'for' the motion claiming that as a citizen of a democratic country everyone should be able to exercise their right not to vote, others argued that NOTA option is just a button and added no value to the voting procedure.

"As a citizen of India I have the right to disapprove of the candidates and this is where NOTA comes into place. It also signifies that a certain section of the audience are not happy with corrupt politicians. NOTA button can compel political parties to nominate a sound candidate. In many constituencies, votes received by NOTA has been higher than the margin by which the candidate has won," said Airene Ganguly from Loyola School, who was also declared the best speaker and took home a cash prize of Rs 1,000.

Another student Vaibhav Kumar, who spoke 'against' the motion said, "Instead of queuing up to vote, voters should choose a right candidate rather than wasting their precious power and selecting the NOTA option."

A rebuttal round was also held where participants were allowed to ask questions and counter the points stated by fellow contestants.

The event was judged by academician Daphne D'Souza and English professor of Karim City College Yahiya Ibrahim. Students were judged on content, gesture, pronunciation, diction, presentation and arguments.

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