I voted, I voted for no one in Delhi elections

Sat, Nov 29, 2008

National, News, Politics

[poll id="11"]

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.

Read more on Danish’s blog

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.

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44 Comments For This Post

  1. jayanthi Says:

    this is a very interesting option which i didnt know about. can u please send this whole information to any leading newspaper, so that they can popularise it and then the government will know that it is not out of ignorance or irresponsibility that the youth do not vote (the whole farce of “pappu vote nahi dalta”)but they(those well-educated and conscientious people) genuinenly want to oppose this whole ritual of voting because the candidates dont even show their faces in their constituency and are highly corrupt.
    If the newspapers do a survey of WHY many people do not want to choose any available candidate and yet are responsible and aware citizens, the government is in for a shock i am sure!!!

  2. Mayank Says:

    Thanks Jayanthi.
    Even i was not sure about it till yerterday. Obviously parties wont let it/want it to be publicised. Chances are some intellectuals already know of this but dont talk about it because they know none of the pol parties will like it.
    Anyways,i will consider your suggestion still. If you have any contact links for any news channel/newspaper reporter, do contact me with using our “Contact Us” page. or you could also just leave a message here. BTW there is another interesting turn to “49-o”.
    If in a constituency,the number of “i vote for no one” votes are higher than the winning margin in that constituency,the elections in that constituency will be cancelled and a re-election will take place. And then, parties will have to nominate new (read better because older were already rejected) candidates.
    Though i am not sure about the cancellation part as there is no mention of cancellation on the NIC website link i gave in the post.
    Still,this is great way to express your dissent.

    Ans yeah,not only the government, our whole system is in for a shock fo sure. They are all bloody worthless.
    really wish there were people like Dr. Kalaam in our political system.

  3. riki Says:

    heya…bahut sahi..thanks for sharing such a useful claus can surely make the difference..i’ll try to make people aware about it..certainly that can work..!thankyou..

  4. riki Says:

    heya again..!just now i came to know about a new thing..i am not sure of of my seniors told me so..
    that when we cast our vote…we have a list of names on evm..but there is another button..and when we press means,’i dont want to vote any of these candidates’
    he also said..that this was started by Kiran Bedi..
    he came to know about this through a news channel..

  5. Mayank Says:

    And regarding that Kiran Bedi thing,I dont think so.

    AFAIK, somebody asked this question to Kiran Bedi once,that what to do if I dont want to give vote to any body? To which Kiran Bedi replied, we wish there was a button like “I dont want to vote anybody”.
    What your senior told could be what i have written here,i.e. “49-o”

    You must be knowing that better than me. When you gave your vote,was there any such button,i am almost certain,not. No way there could be that button because otherwise authorities would have told me to press that button na,why so much fuss? Right?
    And i just realised one thing which has made me sad, even though i voted,i have yet not seen an EVM. sigh :(

  6. riki Says:

    yaar i didnt notice that button..ya your could be right..thats what i was thinking..if there is a button all that you had to do..anyway..
    evm is simple machine..with names on on left column and buttons(blue) against the corresponding names..
    i have used similar evm during elections in du.. :)

  7. riki Says:

    **thats what i was thinking..if there was a button then what was the need of all that you had to do..anyway..

  8. Akshay Says:

    Everybody here seems to be agreeing that the practice of casting a blank vote is a good option and that a voter should exercise it when the voter feels the contesting parties are incompetent or unworthy of being voted to power.

    But I fail to understand the rationale of it how it really helps. The real result of polling has to be that some or the other party would be voted to power. And so, obviously, one of the parties would come to power and it would be legally handed the control of affairs of the state.

    Is the blank vote made just to signify that the voting population in the constituencies are active and that the voters are not happy with any of the parties contesting or does it prune the powers to be given to the office holding party in any manner?

    Can’t we say that once the winning party is given the affairs of the state/country – it would forget the dissatisfied voters – no matter how sizable the number of such blank voting is? We have been looking at protests and riots and agitations and what not yet they are totally unperturbed. Then why would they bother about this?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel that people want life, politics and governance to be as easy as a button click and that’s the reason why the concept of blank voting has been introduced.

  9. Mayank Says:

    Hi there Akshay

    Well to answer your question, read my first comment which I made in reply to Jayanthi. Though I am not sure about the cancellation thing as there is no mention of it on the NIC website. Ill try to seek legal perspective about this in upcoming days and update you guys.

    But still, I see it as a vent to our dissent, diss approval, of the system. It is a a sign that we are not buying the stupid dumb explanations of our corrupt leaders anymore. You see when a group of people protest silently, goverment in a democracy is bound to take notice. Protests do create waves and that creates more awareness. More and more people voting this way, more is the movement and display of public dissent and there are more people coming who will come to know about it. The more people there are in, the more scared the politicians will be as in,the ruling party will fear the people who voted for me can also turn “non voters” and i may lose my chair next elections while opposition parties will think if my vote bank gets influenced by “I vote none”, I may not be voted to power ever. Protests will make an indirect impact for sure if not directlky by the means of cancellation of elections.

    Also, it gives you an option to tell those friends of yours who say “i dont care because politicsd s**ks, none of them worthy”. You can tell them there is a way to cast your vote by not voting to any candidate at all. So even those can me made to involve in the political process.

    And last,here is a thought. When i say I do not want to vote for any of these candidates its not my vote is as good as me not voting. It will still count as an evidence of my anger.
    You see,suppose there are 100 voters in “X” constituency.40 people vote for BJP, 30 for congress and 30 for others.
    While BJP is clearly the winner, you can see majority of the people(30+30=60) DO NOT want BJP in power. So candidate is elected my maximum number of people,not majorioty number of people, as majority does not want BJP!
    So,for those who voted in those 30+30, its not there vote will be waste and BJP will not want them to vote for them next time. They will ofcourse try,atleast in the campaigning days. So if I vote “no one” they will sure want to include me next time, and for that they will have to do something more than just work.

  10. Mayank Says:

    And hey…why would I want to support somebody in whose ideaology,thinking I do not believe in. For me from now, now voting is not choosing the lesser of the two evils, its choosing the best candidate. And the best candidate I see currently is “no one”. I can safely vote for no one till there is a party with whom i can identify myself without having a regret of voting for peopelw who are corrupt,talk about caste,religion politics, are criminals,corrupt et cetera

  11. vimoh Says:

    Way to go Mayank!

    If the urban non-voting public took the action you did in masses, we would become a vote bank they can’t ignore. People, learn!

    Register for voter ID. Then refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils.

  12. Mayank Says:

    @ Vimoh
    Exactly what i wanted to convey!

    Vijayendra wrote:
    “If the urban non-voting public took the action you did in masses, we would become a vote bank they can’t ignore.”

    Thats what we want others to realize and believe me its not easy. Every official at nthat polling booth was behaving as if i was not acting like a responsible citizen by “wasting” my vote. Heck, even my mother could not understand it.

  13. Shrinath Says:

    Brilliant! I am going to forward this article to as many as I can and also link it to to my page. In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections let us protest and not vote for anyone.

  14. Chhavi Says:

    Mayank, this is inspiring. I know people are able to cast blank ballots in the U.S. – and figured there would be an option here. It’s heartening to know that there will have to be a re-election with fresh candidates if the refusal to vote outnumber the parties’ votes.

    This will be my first election in India (I left India when I was 18, moved back last year) and I am definitely going to exercise my option to ‘waste my vote’ :)

  15. Mayank Says:

    @ Shrinath

    Its good to see atleast peopel here are understanding the essence of voting “no one”

    BTW 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

  16. Mayank Says:

    @ Chhavi
    You said: “It’s heartening to know that there will have to be a re-election with fresh candidates if the refusal to vote outnumber the parties’ votes”

    I said its not yet confirmed that the cancellation will be done. I am trying to seek legal advice on this and will update you guys ASAP.

  17. VoteYatra2009 Says:

    Hi Mayank – Thanks very much for sharing your experience here. Just thought I’d let you know that a group of volunteers who met up at Twitter ( have set up VoteYatra2009 (our FB page is here: Our aim is to bring the elections closer to the voters. Have a look at what we’re planning. It evolves as new people come on board. We’d love to have you too. Thanks.

  18. Samrat Kakkar Says:


    Wish I had seen your blog earlier. I ended up boycotting the elections since I was convinced that there was no worthy candidate from my area. But good job done.

  19. Mayank Says:

    @ VoteYatra2009

    Thanks! I would sure love to be a part of such a community

    @ Samrat

    We know we dont have enough genuine candidates but you should still cast your vote. Not giving your vote should not be an option. Though I agree its really really hard to make up your mind to whom do you want to give vote to.
    But even if there was no “49-p”, I would have still given my vote! Thats my right and my duty :)

  20. sanchit goyal Says:

    hey thnx 4 the post… we know that there is this rule and it is not a hoax and people can use it……on the fact that whether re-election will be held or not if the majority decides not to vote….here is a website article which may be of some help…..

  21. Mayank Says:

    @ Sanchit

    “now we know that there is this rule and it is not a hoax and people can use it”

    Bro, like I said, I asked a few lawyers and they said there is nothing like that. So I am not sure what it is. More over, I am wondering, where the hell my vote went if that is the case.
    But again as I have updated in the post, there seems another person who casted his vote using 49-o. I tried contacting him but so far no response.

    May be if just one more person can confirm that they voted using 49-o, then we (and me) can be sure. And me really wondering what the hell is that text supposed to mean on NIC website then? It is the website of Ministry of Law & Justice of Govt Of India. Or is it that it is also as meaningless as our government itself? Giving me headspins this thing.

  22. Akshay Says:

    I don’t know why I’m spending so much time on this but even though I have no right to say that what you voted for is wrong – still I’d like to tell you something once again.

    Presuming that all the parties in the constituency are corrupt and do not deserve our votes and so the majority opt for a blank vote, and get the candidates removed from the list (as the legal interpretation says in and conduct a poll afresh, the following questions arise in my mind:

    - Who would contest in the polls again? If no new party was introduced in the candidates’ list when the first polls were conducted then why would they enter now? Many people as we know do not want to get into politics.
    - A lot of time would take to form an effective and efficient party – so that they meet the standards which we have set – which are “good”. What if the tenure of the previous party ends by then?
    - If a party is indeed floated in a really short period of time then how can we trust them that they would be able to manage the affairs properly? Chances are that the staff members are inexperienced or even corrupt. So that’ll be as good as exploring virgin lands and in other words we’re playing with luck as we always do.
    - Last but the most – how do we judge that the party is good? Would we judge them by the number of samosas and chai they distribute or the quality of their songs played or the amount of PREMIUM LIQUOR they smuggle and distribute to the public?

    The main idea of this whole thing seems to be to terrorise the politicians by the public uniting – which is what is necessary anyway! By choosing the lesser of the evils and then not letting them be evil because of our united force is the only way I see – to get out of this mess. Uniting, staying united, being vigilant and raising our voice against atrocities is the way to go.

  23. Mayank Says:

    @ Akshay
    First of all, I have no where confirmed the provision of cancellation and I still maintain that its no where documented (except for fake emails) taht there will be cancellation.

    Whether it will create a pressure on government or not, my view is, yes it will. We live in a democratic setup. Protests of any kind are largely noticed by. When people sit on hunger strikes why does govermentor officials try so hard to break them down by hook or by crook?
    If it continues genuine people will come out that there is a realistic chance that they can indeed win the elections as public is really pissed by the tactics of our politicians.
    How do you judge a new pool of candidates. Well that is difficult.
    But yousee, we can check for their work,if they have any criminal records etc. Hell,our present bunch does not come clean even on these. Thats the most disgusting thing. If new bunch was atleast clean on these front,it will make things easier for me to identify with the new lot then with the older one.
    Also if some one with as distinct identity as Dr Kalaam comes into picture,you dont even have to think. Do you? So the scenario I mentioned in above para is for new candidates about which we do not know much and for people like Dr Kalaam you do not wait to decide.

    For me,if I have to chose from lesser of the two eveils from a country of over one billion people to give me a bunch of leaders, thats a shame and I wish I never become part of that national shame.

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