LS Election Manipur: Yes or no to NOTA, what voters are saying?
Democracy is all about choices and election in majoritarian electoral system is a game of numbers. For the first time in India’s more than 6-decade-long history of democracy, voters have been empowered with None Of The Above (NOTA) option or popularly known as the right to reject candidates. Unlike previous polls in Manipur, the runup 16th Lok Sabha election is fused with a strange air of NOTA, frustration of voters and their anger against the legislators, who failed keep pre-poll promises.
Following a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court of India ordered to apply NOTA button on voting machines on 27th September, 2013. The discussion for NOTA is doing the round and youths from the state have dared even to initiate a campaign- “Vote-for-NOTA-in-Manipur-Kangleipak” (NOTACACom). The humming buzz evidently signals that a chunk of voters largely youths are likely to use NOTA option to show their rejection of contestants in the election scheduled to be held on 17th April, 2014.
When asked about his view, Laiphrakpam Herojit (25) of Hiyangthang, Imphal West, who is going to vote for the first time opines, “the right to reject and privacy is what the voters needs. NOTA will be very helpful.”
In a recent interview conducted by Kanglaonline, voters especially youngsters hail the verdict of the apex court and said that it is a boon to the citizens of India.
While stating that NOTA has no sense till now and has no power, Goutam Ningombam, UGC-JRF, PhD Scholar, Department of Chemistry, Manipur University said, “I think we should vote for the one we trust and waste no votes. If want a change, we should exercise our right instead of bargaining the rate of vote. If the elected person fails to maintain our aspirations, we can simply stop cooperating in future.”
The crux is that decision of the voters is what that will shape the future. The unity and honesty of the citizens should be built instead of pressing NOTA. When the voters create positive perspectives things will turn out to be positive, the 29-year-old research scholar from Moirang, Bishnupur district added.
Emphasizing that exercising franchise is the right and duty of every eligible citizen of India, Pramod Ningombam (35), senior journalist said it is one way to make choices about how we want our life to be. Though we understand the candidates to be ‘devils’ in different forms, we have no choice but to choose the ‘lesser devil’.
He also suggests that we all should go for the candidate with the lesser devil in himself/herself.
Hrishikesh Angomcha (28), Sub-Editor, Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) also believes that the option is good, but not purposeful. “The candidates will be elected based on the highest number of votes secured no matter how many voted for NOTA.”
Dr. K Chandra (identity changed on condition of anonymity) said that since we are the ones, who made politicians corrupt, the only option to make them uncorrupt is NOTA because if elected, they will become corrupt again.
“Many responsible citizens will be opting for NOTA this time because there is none who deserves. The past decades speak it and all of a sudden, we can’t find an honest and responsible candidate just a few days ahead of elections. Before claiming as honest to the people, one needs to be honest to oneself first,” the 32-year old young AIMS medical post graduate said.
Salam Herojit (34) of Nambol, Bishnupur district welcomes the provision and at the same time he appeals the Election Commission of India and NGOs to create awareness about the power and adverse effect of this button across the country.
“It won’t be exaggerating to say that an effective use of NOTA to the extend that it creates an impact on Indian election is a far-fetch dream,” Herojit said.