Delhi went to legislative elections today. This was my first time to cast a vote and as I have keen interest in politics, I was naturally more than excited to cast my vote. But I was confused to whom I should give my vote to. In my opinion,none of the parties are real worthy of my vote. All are corrupt from head to toe, can care no less about their constituencies and its people and what not. On top of that most of them do not even have a clear image, many have criminal records against their name.
So what do we do? Can we only chose lesser of the two evil? Is that the only option left for us? Not voting or pressing two buttons on the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) was not an option as that would have meant wastage of my vote. Then when my friend told me about this post on his blog.
According to NIC website there is a provison given to electors in case they dissapprove the current system.
49-O. Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his
electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters
in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as
required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his
vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in
Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb
impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.
Read the full “THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS RULES, 1961” here on the NIC website.
So I finally voted. Nope,im no more confused about what i did,and am very clear about what I will do in future elections (until there is a radical change).
I voted for no one!
Even after I read about this thing on Sai’s blog, I was not kind of sure about its authenticity as he mentioned there,he recieved it as an mail forward and email forwards are mostly very un-reliable.But when another person mentioned about this when I was discussing about this on a forum,I thought I will try it out (though i would have given it a try anyways).
So I got up early in the morning and was there at the polling station even before the polling started. And delimitation of constituency has caused a few confusions here and there. And as always finding you name in the voter list is sometimes tricky,specially so if you are a fist time voter. I searched hard for my name but was unable to find it ( was wishing I could press Ctrl + F so that i can find my name). Anyways after much work, I was able to find my name.
I went inside the polling booth, got that election ink on my right index finger, got my serial number and when I was allowed to proceed towards the EVM, I said, I do not want to cast my vote,what is the procedure to go about it. There were 4 lady officials on duty and 4 other people sitting there. They were like “Come again”! I told them again, there is a provison where by you can vote that you do not want to cast your vote in favour of any of the candidate. They were like what do you mean by that? Clearly they dint knew about this. I think they dint get what I wanted to say because they kept saying if you do not wanted to vote, why have you come here? Why have you got that ink mark on your finger and all that. You should have told us beforehand. I told them i was not wasting my vote. They said you should have not come at all, or press two buttons on the EVM. I told them that would be equivalent to not voting at all, though they were not convinced . Again one lady said you should not have come, then another one interrupted her by saying that “no what he is saying is that he want to vote but he does not want to vote to these candidates.Ask him to fill up a form and write a remark against his name that he “refused to vote”. They thought I was just a frustrated warm blooded youth who is just fed up with politics and so they even asked me if I was even aware of who all the candidates are contesting in the elections or i am here to just sound like a clever attention hungry fox. I told them the whole list and told I dont want to vote for them because I dont think they are worthy. When they found i can not be convinced ,then they called in their senior officer to see me. He said,”Son why do you want to create a mess for us? Running a country is a tough job,its not as easy as it looks to you,give your vote to someone (beta kyo hamara kaam bada raha hai,desh itti aasani se nahi chalta ,kisi ko bhi vote dede). But I said no,there is a provison and I do not want to give vote to anyone. He said then you will have to sit and wait here for 1 hour as he will ask higher authorities, I said no problem,I can wait. There was chaos all around that polling booth, and I feel sorry for those who got delayed because of me(I could here a few whining sounds of people standing behind me)
After much hustle, they finally put a remark against my name,got it signed by me @ two places,and the presiding officers present there also signed it. They also asked me to give an undertaking that I do not want to give my vote to anyone. Though they mentioned that I can be called again if there is any problem with my vote.
So this is just another option you have when you go to elect your leaders from next time. I could not get this out to more people as i was myself not sure about this,but now, after i have casted my vote in favour of “no one”, I will try to reach out to maximum people.
Thanks Sai and Udit.
Spread the word.
Update: From whatever I can gather from different sources, there is no provision for cancellation and then re-elections. 49-o only mentions the right to “not vote”. Though a few lawyers whom I asked about this said even this does not exist! I have the link and I will show it to them.I do not know how can they say that there is no such thing. Whom did I vote then? I am damn confused. What did they did to my vote?
Update 2: There have been instances before me who have casted their vote in favour of 49-o. Like this one.
Update 3: I have tried contacting a few “responsible” newspapers and news channels. But few of the mails are not getting delivered, probably because they are already flooded with feedback on Mumbai attacks.
So if anybody can provide me with direct contact details of some of their known personnels in any media organisation, I shall be grateful.
If you have any helpful contact,you can directly mail me at: mayanks[dot]098[at]gmail[dot]com
Update 4: Finally, another blogger, Danish spoke to EC office. All in all, it seems my vote was valid and I did actually vote for “no vote”. Thats a relief.
Here is an excerpt from Danish’s blog:
I called up Election Commissioner’s Office and spoke with Mr. C.P. Sharma who is PPS to Mr. Navin Chawla (Election Commissioner). Mr Sharma told me that this rule is valid, anyone can exercise it. One has to go to the polling booth, get their name marked, get their finger marked and infrom the Polling officer on duty about the decision of not voting. The Polling Officer might ask you to give a written undertaking stating the same. Through this process, the vote would be registered as ‘no-vote’ and will be counted under the same head at the time of final counting.
Conclusion is, that it does exist but there is noprovision of cancellation or re-election.
So it is valid, however, you see it as a valid way for opposing the system or not, is still upto you. For me, it is a way to protest as people and our politicians will come to know about the unrest even if their is no cancellation. Sometime, they are bound to take notice,may be out of fear,but they surely will.