Visiting Senior Fellow Shankkar Aiyar writes in The New Indian Express on empowering the "none of the above", or NOTA, option as a way to give voice to voter dissent and make parties atone for the maladies of the current electoral landscape.
"None of the above, or NOTA, is a facility made available since September 2013 to voters in India as an instrument to express their displeasure or dissent with the choice of candidates contesting in a poll—effectively none of the above is a vote against all.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, more than 60.02 lakh voters pressed the NOTA button—that translates into 3.49 per cent of the total votes polled by the BJP, or 5.61 per cent of the votes polled by the Congress. Nilgiris topped the chart with 46,559 votes—that is 4.98 per cent of the votes polled—for ‘none of the above’. In second place was Tura in Meghalaya, whose voters cast 4.18 per cent of the votes for NOTA in a poll contested by Purno A Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker and the grand priest of political propriety in the 1990s. NOTA has also registered its presence strongly in Assembly polls— in the 2018 polls for Madhya Pradesh, NOTA outperformed parties and outscored the margin of victory in 22 constituencies."
Read the full article here.