Why not None of the Above (NOTA)?
None of the above is an option for the people to reject all the competing candidates. To be more clear it is a choice for the public to reject not only the candidate but can be a sign of rejecting the policies that a party proposed and their previous performance.
NOTA option can be the last option on the voting machine. This can bring out many true colours of the political system around and can be a true democratic option. Though it has more critiques than acceptance citing to it practical difficulties and unclear procedures, That seems to be a mere escape mechanism to face the consequences of NOTA if applied.
No Candidate Deserves My Vote! party
“No Candidate Deserves My Vote!” was registered as a political party with the UK Electoral Commission on 23 November 2000. The No Candidate Deserves My Vote party’s single objective is to introduce a bill to Parliament to have a “None of the above” option added to every local and general election ballot paper of the future. They feel this will allow the UK electorate to exercise their democratic right to vote to say that none of the parties currently represents them, which will encourage their democratic responsibility to turn out to vote. If a candidate wins an election it is the intention to stay as a Member of Parliament until the change in the law is enacted. Only then will the candidate step down and the party be disbanded. – Wiki
When there are no ideal good parties to choose among? The citizens are forced to elect a worse among the worst. Then the Political parties are those who takes advantage of this democratic set up, but not the citizens. Thus what wins the election is not the democracy logically, but a forced party rule.
You may say “anyone can start a party in a multi party system, thus it is freedom so it is a democracy. Isn’t it?” Please come to the ground realities in a country like India, Politics are openly criticized as a dirty game of corruption and no party is having clean hands to raise, now. You cannot ignore the importance of having money power, backed by the goons support as important ingredients to make a party survive. You cannot run a party without them. Politics still remain an indirect monopoly of Money and Power.
Politics is no more an entity of intellectual policies and principles for the betterment of a nation. Most of the Governments in the World are acting so detached from their actual purpose of existence, IE. To work for the welfare of the people and the nation. What happens is just a political business and the government works for their respective party. India is the best example for this! Here decisions are taken on political interest of the governments rather on nation’s interest. Citizens are driven in the direction of selfishness unknowingly and we are a lot behind the level to understand the wits of the government policies and plans. Every step taken by the politicians are well directed to keep the public so dormant. On a whole the system changed the minds of the public to think more selfishly as the political parties does.
In 1991 elections that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Soviet version of “none of above” led to new elections with new candidates in 200 races of the 1,500-seat Congress of People’s Deputies. More than 100 incumbents representing the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were defeated in the run-off, leading to Boris Yeltsin to later say the “none of the above” option “helped convince the people they had real power even in a rigged election, and [it] played a role in building true democracy.” – Wiki
Take any government policies or schemes, they have indirect connections to benefit the party rather public. Everybody knew this, since independence almost all the political parties did the same to the public. Very few exceptional leaders were there, whom we can pick from the dirty politics as gems, who really dedicated their lives to the People and the Nation. The current political system sees corruption as an integrated part and existing without it is seen inevitable, the only thing they need to do is to ensure they do corruption smartly.
There is no concern or any fear of the public, as it is either one of the party they have to select by any ways in the elections. Many multi-party democracies around the world still have two major parties which always get elected to rule, rest all just there to join as associates when the majority needed to claim the rule, they are just swingers to jump between the ruling and opposition on regular intervals.
The is no real option for the public in this system! This is the naked truth.
What does the NOTA can do?
Or re-election with different candidates? But hold on, we are not voting for individuals, but for the policies and trust behind their party / individual! So replacing candidates will make little difference.
Or re-election with same candidates with revised policies? These kind of uncleared questions makes the NOTA critical choice, also considering the re-election expenses added as an additional excuse to say “no” to NOTA.
Behold. There is an unnoticed side of NOTA. Look at the “Locus of control” in the democratic set up. It is supposed to be “the people”. But what about India? It is the “Political Parties”!
In 1989 legislative election in Poland voters were able to vote against the only candidate running, often from the ruling Polish Communist Party by crossing out the candidate’s name on the ballot. As a result, voters defeated the sitting prime minister and dozens of leading Communists because they failed to get the required majority – Wiki
Only NOTA can shift the control back to the people. As the people are forced to elect one among them as mentioned earlier, the parties hold supremacy and monopoly among them. NOTA will give a sense of fear in them that people may reject all of them for sure if they do not perform. This will lead to a Mass political change and bring people back to the power and a good governance. The fear of disqualification will really threaten the parties.
Where NOTA lags?
- Unclear procedures if NOTA wins
- Poor control over policies and decisions for NOTA
- NOTA should be free from politics governed by Supreme Court.
- The President of India should be elected by the Public rather the parties and should hold supreme power.
- A transparent functioning of government accessible to the public (apart from national secrets) which brings the financial transactions open and audited by any public represented CA / Legal Body anytime.
- The overall maturity level of the Indian people is still a concern for implementing NOTA. We have people who just vote for money and without thinking. Same as politicians, many among the public are selfish when it comes to voting.
- India is not ready for handling the consequences of NOTA now! But we are decades behind to make a NOTA win an election, so we can have it.
Overall Conclusion- THE REALITY:
NOTA will put a holistic pressure on the politicians to perform on national interest and public will think more now about their choices. The democracy will become a true democracy of the people, for the people, by the people someday for sure. This is one of the ideal way for a paradigm shift from the corrupt ruling and ineffective laws to a bright future. We need more awareness about NOTA and its consequences.
Greece, Ukraine, Spain, Colombia, the US state of Nevada and Bangladesh has NOTA. Russia had it and withdrawn it in 2008. So you can relate where India or any other country stands.
My points are worth consideration for any country where the politics are played as dirty games, not only for India. Hope we groom to the next levels in Politics!
- Words by Din
Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.
- Govt. moves to keep parties outside RTI (thehindu.com)
- Demanding transparency in political finance (thehindu.com)
- If we have criminals in Parliament, we will have criminals on the streets (meerasanyal.wordpress.com)
- Influence of Government on Political Parties? (anoopastrosutra.wordpress.com)
- [East Asia Forum] India’s problem is with corruption, not poor growth models (concernedyapcitizens.wordpress.com)
- Parliamentary Democracy in India – A Failure? (pvrajeev.wordpress.com)
- Who will control tomorrows election? (ianchisnall.wordpress.com)