Saturday, February 28, 2009

Your Right of "NO VOTE" as enshrined in our Constitution

Section “49-O” of the Constitution of INDIA

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1961 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey to the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote anyone! Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called exercising the right to “NO VOTE” and under section "49-O" . Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a constituency or ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received "124" “NO” votes, then polling will be canceled and will have to be re-polled.

"Rule No 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" (Refer to: Govt of India site for reference) impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. (No reference found on this, but this story is doing rounds over internet these days.)

This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way; of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....So Far Please spread this news to as many as you know... Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties and their corrupt candidates in India... Show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance.

Bring a change in the country.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

To Vote or Not: In dilemma after 26/11

I came across Neeraj's blog entry and comments of its readers which I found extremely forthright and pertinent. I am therefore, taking this liberty of posting them with their due mention. I hope it serves the spirit for which I have created my blog:

By Neeraj Agarwal

On Dec 04, 2008 @

Before I start to pen down my thoughts on 26/11, let me confess that I have never been to Mumbai. I never had an opportunity to have a drink at Leopold's Café, pass by Nariman House or stay at Taj or Oberoi hotel. Therefore, I decide not to comment anything on the spirit of Mumbaikars without knowing the essence of it. But, as a countryman I too felt anguished seeing those horrific images on my television screen.

We all have to move on, this time move on to bring a change. Though we should have began the candle light vigil long back when other cities were attacked by the terrorists earlier this year. Why didn't our Home Minister, Shivraj Patil resigned right then when Bangalore, Assam, Gujarat, Malegaon were all targeted by terrorists? But, it's never too late.

The question is if the resignations of the ministers are going to help. Can we be sure of a complete check on terror now onwards, after the exit of Shivraj Patil, Union Home Minister, R.R. Patil, Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister and Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Maharashtra's CM?

What if another Patil or Deshmukh returns to power? I guess this is why India doesn't have a solution to terror. For a moment, let's say that this UPA government has been weak in fighting terror. Still could the NDA do any better?

We call Manmohan Singh weak but I don't see a dynamic personality in L.K. Advani, BJP's Prime Ministerial Candidate. Will he be strong enough to act hard against terror? Infact, I am surprised that Advani didn't make a comment against Sonia or Singh after 26/11 for his political benefit. Perhaps, he is busy sounding off slogans like 'Mehngi Padi Congress Sarkar' an inescapable phrase splattered all over our newspapers and billboards.

Agree or not, we as citizens can only express anger or light a few candles. Unless, we have right people in the parliament who frame right policies against terror and implement it, we cannot eradicate terror.

In the democracy, I know my vote counts. But, I am not sure if I am going to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Whom should I vote for- Manmohan, Sonia or Advani? It's like letting history repeat itself. Sorry, but I don't see any of our current political leaders capable of stopping the political blame game. I don't see them acting sternly against terror.

Do we need an Obama? I know it's too early to say that Barrack Obama will become a successful US president. But, at least Obama seems to be confident and aggressive unlike our prime ministerial candidates.


clip_image001Posted 2008-12-08 17:10:41 : By mloretalk

It is certainly important that we all vote. We might not have a great choice over whom to vote, but it is always better to select the best among the worst!
They (politicians) are thick-skinned. Blame them or even slap them they will continue to remain the same.
Time has come that a generation actually awakens. The whole system needs a change.
Also, there is no point blaming politicians alone because youngsters(other than those from political families)rarely come forward to contest polls.
It would be novel, if schools to train politicians are introduced, where training is imparted on managerial skills, public address and specialised subjects. From this school, candidates (between age 25-35) should contest polls all over India, so that we have able trained politicians. This will end families controlling power from drawing rooms. More so the training should be so intensive and specialised so that a finance minister continues to hold the same post as long as he is in power and also accountable.
This will certainly bring in a positive development which no politicians will actually vote for! ...</P

clip_image001[1]Posted 2008-12-08 02:14:35 : By kpjagan

If all but one thing is required to make that all elusive change, he first and foremost initiative that is required would be the electoral reform. Qualification of candidate, age limit..but just wait, first let the voter get an option to choose the right candidate. If he feels no one deserve to be voted what is the option the election commission is giving the voters. Its high time the much talked about none of the above option being given to the voters, if incase one is not satisfied with the set of candidates who stand the election. Now, the next question would the remaining votes would still constitute a majority and so why cant a fixed percentage of votes be made mandatory( that is except the votes being favoured towards none of the above)to make the election a valid one. And that wont do too, and all the candidates who stood in such election where the majority votes haven't been met should be disqualified to stand for as the next set of candidates. Let the process goes on till the time the voters find the right candidate as they feel would be the one to do the job for them the ay it should be done. So long the process of selecting someone is crudely based on the best among the worst, this isn't going to help and the change is not going to come. If change has to come this is the only way to go as for as I am concerned. And lets start a initiative to bring in this change in the election process which would do the world a lot of good. ...</P

clip_image001[2]Posted 2008-12-06 12:31:04 : By moniqued

Indian Citizens,
The need of the hour is we need to stop our internal fights and unite to fight against the terrorists. We were the ones who voted the politicians to power. Its easy to govern when there is no crisis, but tough to handle a 26/11 like situation. We need to stand by our leaders and let them do their job. We need to see what we as citizens can do help them do their job better. We as educated people have a bigger responsibility in selecting the leaders who will be able to guide us through these difficult times. I can see that all of us are united, lets use that force in a constructive manner.
My heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the mumbai attack. I salute the heroes who saved many lives at the cost of their own. ...

clip_image001[3]Posted 2008-12-05 18:35:39 : By devanshisahay82

Hi Neeraj,
I agree with your thoughts. Ever since I was 18 Ive always felt pride in my voting rights. 26/11 however has changed things. Lets research article 490 and its impact on polls. The anger on the streets today is nothing less than a revolution. Lets not be scared of the unthinkable. ...</P

clip_image001[4]Posted 2008-12-05 15:27:24 : By rgmlk

So you don't vote and defeat the purpose of a Democracy? I think this is yet another wake up call for people to actually go out and vote - and know who they're voting for at every level. The first thoughts running through many of our minds when we heard about Mumbai was 'We're becoming Africa'. The ppl of this democracy should be strong enough to NOT let that happen. ...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Indian Elections 2009: Is there Anything for Common Men

What should an ideal election campaign be like? Should it be catchy? Should it be a report card of a party in power or a vision document of the party that wants to be in power? With freebies and lofty promises making hitting headlines, political campaigns seem far removed from any ideology or real issues confronting people.

Some of the promises made political parties during the assembly elections just gone by were five kilo ghee for women bearing their first child in Rajasthan, Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur's shadow in Madhya Pradesh, a radio on wheels in Delhi and simple political crossfire in Chhattisgarh. So what are Indian elections all about?

In the midst of heavy election season, political campaigns seem far removed from any ideology or real issues confronting people.

Has modern-day election campaigning has lost touch with the aam aadmi issues?

Infosys’ Nandan Nilekani, in his recently-released book Imagining India, talks about the difference between horizontal and vertical ideas in politics. But what exactly are these ideas and is there an Indian politician who understands the difference between the two?

Chandan Mitra (Rajya Sabha MP and Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer) was asked this and he went on a defensive right away, arguing Indians underestimate the intelligence of politicians. “Whether they understand theoretical ideas isn’t important. It’s important for them to have a pulse of what people feel,” he said. He believed all core election issues like rice, bijli-sadak-paani have remained the same over the years and they are all common man issues.

What’s the issue?

Interestingly two states from the BIMARU group (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP - states that aren’t doing too well economically) went to polls recently and the big poll plank seemed to be terror and the saffron tag attached to it. Why is it that for most political parties, the agenda seems to be an emotive issue first and the relevant ones later?

Dilip Cherian (National Coordinator & President, Lok Satta) drew the inevitable comparison. He said Indian politicians must adopt campaign tactics which make them reach out to voters at an individual level. But he also wondered if there were any real issues being taken up in the first place. “A lot of people are getting caught in the hoopla of the show and have no message,” he said.

Actor / Activist Nafisa Ali said we have two major parties in India and when it comes to elections, there’s only a hate propaganda!”

Will we ever have India’s Obama?

Comparisons with America’s new-found poster-boy of change are inevitable in any election for the foreseeable future. But problem is Obama came into politics because he wants to be in it, as opposed to Indian politicians who are in it just and only to hold on to power, by hook or by crook. They are such lampoons who unashamedly make trivial, emotional, nonsense happenings, an issue when the world’s going through the worst economic crisis.

Mr Advani has recently had a meeting with industrialists but an election speech can’t be a budget speech. It has to be catchy,” Mitra admitted, candidly.

Both Mitra and Nafisa said it was unfair to compare India with America because India has a different response mechanism and that poll issues needed to be catchy indeed.

In conclusion we can confidently say that elections in India are and will continue to be worse than a soap opera where the campaign has to look like the beginning of a big film with a great starcast with Sidhu's, Hema Malini's, Jaya Prada's, Munna Bhai's, Shatrughan's and innumerable others of similar kinds with– no meat, only gimmickry.

“A third class political process has taken advantage of Indians and is using this countrymen to exploit and do all sorts of ridiculous things at the cost of the country.”

Results of SMS/Web poll: Has modern day election campaigning lost touch with the aam aadmi?

Yes: 89 per cent.

No: 21 per cent.

Courtesy: CNN-IBN Nov 2008

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Introduce the ‘no-vote’ option in EVMs

With the general elections round the corner, people of India must demand the Election Commission to add an extra option in the Electronic Voting Machines’. Those who feel that the candidates in the fray do not come up to the expectations, can press the particular button to register their democratic right..

Bangladesh, our neighbour has introduced this change in its new election rules that make it compulsory for political parties to register to take part, and give voters the chance to reject all candidates if they think none are suitable. Bangladesh proposed to allow a no-vote option in the new poll rules. Obviously, this was not palatable to many political parties whose leaders are in detention on corruption charges.

In Bangladesh previous elections, unregistered political parties and candidates participated to dilute the votes of a rival. Moreover, elections involved widespread cheating including multiple voting, wildly doctored voter rolls, intimidation and bribery. Under the new rules announced recently, a parliamentary candidate will be allowed to contest three seats simultaneously instead of the previously allowed five.

The picture is very similar to what one sees in our own country – new voters are coming of age, but they are reluctant to go to the polling booths to exercise their franchise. The common reply that one hears is – ‘What is the use; the old-timers will get elected in any case because of the corrupt system?’ They do not realise that the corrupt system survives due to lack of representation. The need for the provision of a negative vote has been felt for long and has been voiced several times, but it has not met with the approval of the decision makers because they know that if such provisions are introduced, the present elected members might not get re-elected.

With one more general elections round the corner, it is high time that the election commissioner puts its foot down firmly and insists on adding an extra option in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) – ‘None of the above’. Those who feel that the candidates in the fray do not come up to the expectations can press the particular button to register their democratic right. That would act as a deterrent and eliminate the chances of proxy voting, false voting etcetera. Normally, political parties resort to such underhand tactics when there are empty ballot booths and voters do not turn to decide the fate of the candidates.

Non participation in the democratic process encourages the mischief makers to have a field day. If a small country like Bangladesh which has a infnatile history of fragile democracy can take the bold step of ‘no-vote option’, there is no reason why we cannot do so.