Ahmedabad Mayor Minaxi Patel, who won from the Jodhpur ward of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), has promised to identify the large number of voters who used the None Of The Above (NOTA) option. She also assured of identifying them and promised to personally meet all these voters and resolve their issues. “I would personally meet all these voters who used NOTA during the AMC elections and try to resolve their disenchantment towards the candidates or the system, if they have any. It is important to resolve their issues,” a jubilant Minaxi told The Indian Express as she carried out her victory rally in Jodhpur ward, accompanied by her son and husband, along with party members.
Asked how would she identify NOTA voters, the voting process being a secret ballot, she confidently said, “We would identify them as we have a list of who used NOTA. So, it would not be difficult for us.” Raising questions on the secret ballot, she claimed this even when the counting was on and the final results were still awaited.
Minaxi, who won by 18,575 votes, is considered to be close to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and was the only outgoing Mayor to contest among six municipal corporations that went to polls on November 22. She was elected for the post of Mayor in May 2013, the fourth woman to occupy the post, while she was elected as the councilor of Jodhpur ward in October 2010.
There was already speculation on the option of NOTA as the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Varesh Sinha had said that NOTA being a part of compulsory voting regime would not be available during the polls owing to the earlier ban of the High Court. The option of NOTA was maintained in the elections only after a petition in the Gujarat High Court. The Gujarat High Court came down heavily on the SEC and ordered it to maintain NOTA option for the voters in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the elections for local bodies, including municipal corporations and panchayats.