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Thursday, February 24, 2005


I don't know whether it is a matter of coincidence or whether Niket knew about this, but just two weeks ago, while talking with Niket, we discussed about having a no-vote, also called as protest vote, option during elections. And, today, I read that the upcoming local elections in Maharashtra on April 10, will allow voters to register a protest vote. However, the Supreme court has still not passed a judgment on a petition demanding an additional facility on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) to log no-votes. It is a different matter that the reasons guiding this decision, in case of the Maharastra election commission, is not exactly the same reason as I would want a protest vote.

I felt convinced about this idea of protest-vote, when there were elections in the local student body here. Nominations were solicited for various posts. However, since only one nomination was received for each post, the candidates won the elections un-contested. My point is that after hearing the agenda of these candidates, if I am not satisfied, then I should be able to say that I feel that the candidate can't perform the duties of the post in concern, and I would not vote for this candidate, even though he or she is the only candidate. Unfortunately, the elections, or should I say, non-elections due to lack of more than one candidates, were already over by the time I came across this revelation.

Now, getting back to the Maharashtra local elections, I feel that this is a great step towards registering the citizens opinion for candidates in his/her constituency. It gives a solution to the age-old question that elections is a process of choosing between better of the two evils (my sincerest apologies to those candidates who are, indeed, honest). If it turns out that I don't like either of the candidates standing in the election, then I should have a right to ask the parties to field in candidates who I believe will serve the constituency. It puts the ball in the court of these political parties, who seem to be under the notion, though false, that the idealogies of their party and its members are the most altruistic and in congruence.

However, now the problem lies in the fact, that if protest-vote gets a majority, then what should be done. One of the solutions would be to ask the parties to field a different person as its candidate, and conduct elections again. Though logical, given the amount of planning, money and human resources involved, this seems to be a difficult solution to implement, without substantial burden on the exchequer. I would be interested in knowing what the election commission and the Supreme Court thinks about this dilemma.


Anonymous Niket said...

It was a coincidence, I assure you. There is a big constitutional question with protest-vote that you mentioned. How many times should we have elections before a ruling finally comes out? Wouldn't the results from other constituencies affect voting patterns during (n*re)-votes? Can we just ignore them while counting ballots, but let it be public that the constituency has no confidence in the candidates; so that the next elections are better. Definitely now the politicians would know that people vote, and right policies will sway these votes. Or perhaps this is just wishful thinking on my part.

5:05 PM  
Blogger SBR said...

Have re-votes for 3 times (just a number); if no result is evident, then bring it under the purview of the governor.

If a party fails to garner more than a certain percentage of votes in three consecutive re-votes, it gets disqualified for fielding a candidate. Probably, wishingful thinking on my part too.

12:53 PM  

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