* This refers to The power of negative voting by Mini Kapoor (IE September 28). The Supreme Courts ruling,which ordered the introduction of a none of the above (NOTA) button in EVMs is very welcome. This empowers voters and enables them to exercise their democratic right while maintaining secrecy. Earlier,voters were not able to cast a secret ballot vote if they intended to reject all candidates. Now that people can choose NOTA,it will create moral pressure on political parties to field candidates that are more widely acceptable,even though the choice to reject will not impact the outcome of an election. If the right to reject were to have an impact on an elections outcome,it could threaten and destabilise democracy and the unity of our country. It could strengthen separatists and extremists in sensitive states by reducing the legitimacy of the political process.
Ajitdada V. Kadam
* This refers to Pressure of the button by S.Y. Quraishi (IE,October 3). The none of the above (NOTA) option,which voters can now exercise in secret,is a positive and much awaited electoral reform. Nominating candidates on the basis of caste,religion,connections and wealth is common practice in most political parties. Worse still is the practice of fielding candidates charged with serious crimes. A large number of people dont exercise their vote,simply because they dont want to choose between the devil and the deep sea. Yet,by not voting,their forfeited right is vulnerable to appropriation and misuse. By not voting,a citizen also feels detached and alienated from the political process. By directing the Election Commission to introduce the NOTA
button on EVMs,the Supreme Court has provided this section of the people the right to also be heard. To a certain extent,it will force political parties to nominate candidates who are more widely acceptable. The SC judgment is a significant step towards encouraging democratic participation.
* I agree with Quraishi that the SCs directive to the EC to introduce the NOTA button on EVMs will have a salubrious effect on Indian politics. Parties are now going to be morally compelled to field candidates with cleaner images. A section of society that did not go out to vote earlier,will now have reason to. Parties can field better candidates and get this sections votes. For younger voters,the writers account of how people would cast invalid votes in the days before EVMs was fascinating. It would be better still if the number of NOTA votes polled could affect the outcome of the election as well.
* Is Narendra Modis statement about toilets and temples a moment of awakening or an election gimmick? If its the former,it has come a few years too late and after much avoidable bloodshed. And if its the latter,then hes underestimating voters.